Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo described his third place finish in the Argentina MotoGP as 'probably the sweetest of my career'.
Lorenzo led for much of the race at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit until Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez hit the front with nine laps remaining.
Dani Pedrosa also caught and passed Lorenzo to snatch the runner-up spot, but the factory Yamaha star celebrated his result with great gusto afterwards nonetheless.
“It is probably my sweetest third position in MotoGP, or maybe all my career. I arrived after two mistakes but I think I received too much criticism, especially from some journalists, that I didn't deserve. It's true I made some mistakes, but I've made very good races over the past years,” said Lorenzo, who slid off in Qatar before jumping the start in the Austin MotoGP last time out.
“We demonstrated that even when we are not in our best shape, or in our best moment, we can still fight with these two guys. I think we have to keep pushing like now and when our moment arrives we will be prepared to try to win races.
“The start was really delicate because another mistake would have created even more criticism, so I needed to be very concentrated on the lights. I was really conscious about the lights and everything. I made a good start, passed Marquez, but the problem was that I braked too late at the hard braking for turn five,” he added.
“I went off-line, where it was very slippery. I saved a crash but I lost first position. I knew I had to pass them and stay first, then keep a constant pace and stay focused.”
Lorenzo was surprised to hold the lead of the race for as long as he did until Marquez made his move and was also shocked by Pedrosa's pace at the end of the race.
“I didn't expect to stay in first position for so many laps. Finally Marc went past me. He was too strong,” said Lorenzo. “I didn't expect Dani to be so strong at the end of the race. I tried to stay second but it was impossible. I preferred to stay in third and finish the race.”
The double premier class champion reiterated his frustration over the new 2014 engine development rules, which he feels is having a huge impact on his chances of bridging the gap to the Repsol Honda riders.
“Well I think this year is more difficult than previous years because of the engine freeze. So we cannot improve the engine, but we can improve the electronics and the chassis,” he said.
“I will try to improve myself, my riding style and together with the mechanics and the engineers try to improve the set-up. I think we can be stronger than today. That is what we have to try to do,” he added.
“The bike still doesn't allow us the chance to brake a little bit later and stop in a short time. Also we miss a little bit of acceleration and top speed, which will be difficult to improve [because of the engine freeze].
“More or less the same things that we were missing last year, but maybe a little bit more. I also think I can improve my physical condition, which is not perfect at the moment.”