Dani Pedrosa battled rookie Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez for victory for most of Sunday's Austin MotoGP, but couldn't go the distance.
The pair had been evenly matched, Pedrosa overtaking the pole sitter at turn one, then being re-passed by Marquez on lap 13 of 21.
But a small mistake by a 'tiring' Pedrosa effectively ended the content with three laps to go, allowing Marquez to pull away and make history as MotoGP's youngest winner.
“I'm happy with this second place,” said Pedrosa. “We had great pace, even though we knew that Marc was very strong. There were no tactics. I tried to ride my own race but in the end I was losing a lot of time on the chicanes.
“I was tiring physically. I had some pain in my left arm and I could not handle the bike well - especially in the first part of the circuit.
“The footpegs were also slippery on the way to the grid. I don't know why. They tried to clean them for the start but my foot was still sliding a lot so I was a little careful to push with my legs in the chicanes.
“In the second section of the track I was recovering quite a lot of time, but it was not enough.
“Furthermore, in one of the three laps before the end I made a mistake, lost around 1.5 seconds and Marc was able to get away. That was the point at which the race was lost for me.
“Still, I'm happy with the bike, my riding was pretty good today and I have improved compared with Qatar. I have to congratulate Marc as well, the Superstar of the season. Now we need to focus on Jerez - a circuit I like a lot.”
Sunday marked Pedrosa's first podium of the season after a fourth place during round one in Qatar, when he also finished one place behind his new team-mate.