There was to be no repeat of Valentino Rossi's race day heroics in Qatar, as the returning Yamaha MotoGP rider rode to a 'defensive' sixth in Sunday's inaugural Austin round.
Rossi had qualified just eighth - one place lower than in Qatar, where he had gone on to claim second place - but was ever able to get the set-up he needed for an attacking performance at the Circuit of the Americas.
“This is a difficult track for us. We expected to do better, but I had a lot of problems in the race because I had a problem with the brakes,” said Rossi. “I had a vibration in braking because I lost one part of a disc so this didn't help.
“Also during practice we didn't work in the perfect way and we did not arrive ready for the race.
“We knew that we had to defend here; we know that when we cannot attack we need to try and arrive in the top five, but today it was sixth. The balance of the first two races is positive and we arrive in Jerez optimistic.
“In Qatar it was a Yamaha one-two, here a Honda one-two, but the next races have traditionally been good for the M1.”
Team-mate and reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo
finished in third place, 13 seconds ahead of Rossi.