Jorge Lorenzo put on a brilliant if brutal display of defensive riding at Valencia on Sunday, in his doomed efforts to wrestle the MotoGP title away from Marc Marquez.
Trailing Marquez by 13 points, Lorenzo needed to win the season finale with Marquez fifth or lower.
Lorenzo strangled the pace at the front to try and bring the other Yamaha riders into play, but couldn't afford to be overtaken and lose the race to the pursuing Repsol Hondas of Marquez or Dani Pedrosa.
“Before the weekend I thought my best strategy would be to go away at the front. But then my best engine was broken in qualifying so we had to use a slower engine from earlier in the season,” said the double world champion.
“In the warm-up it was not so bad but after the session we had a meeting in my motorhome and decided to go with this strategy. Try to slow down the race from the beginning.”
Lorenzo executed the tactic with near perfection, resulting in seven riders being queued up behind him in the early stages.
Marquez was naturally keen to avoid any conflict, but Pedrosa had nothing to lose and enthusiastically took on the task of trying to win his home grand prix.
Time and time again Pedrosa took the lead from sitting duck Lorenzo - only to be mercilessly attacked moments later.
“I tried to slow down as much as possible, but Dani was very strong and passed me every time,” said Lorenzo. “I tried to pass him again at the next corners. Sometimes it was very risky.”
The pair made contact on several occasions, culminating in Lorenzo pushing Pedrosa wide and off the track on lap 10 of 30.
“In normal circumstances I try to be clean and not touch any riders, because it is my mentality and I want to be respectful of all the riders and if I can pass them without touching, I prefer,” said Lorenzo.
“But in this special occasion I had to slow down the race as much as possible, in every corner, so when Dani passed me against my normal mentality I had to pass him again and slow down the race.
“In one [contact] at the chicane I was surprised because he has a different style to me, I entered the corner faster. He braked before I expected and we touched. In [at turn two] I passed him on the inside but he wanted to keep first place on the outside so we touched.
“Sorry to him because I never want to touch any riders.”