Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez said he decided against throwing caution to the wind in his bid to close the gap to the rostrum places in the Qatar MotoGP after the defending world champion made a costly mistake on the first lap.

Marquez ran off the track at the first corner and was dead last, leaving himself with a mountain to climb in the 22-lap race.

He hauled himself up to fifth place but after almost crashing in his efforts to reel in the top four of Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo, he opted to settle for the 11 championship points on offer, rather than ending the race 'in the gravel'.

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"I didn't make one of my fastest starts like always and then when I arrived at the end of the straight I braked, not really late - I braked well - but then I went wide onto the dirty place and I lost the front a little bit," Marquez said.

"It was too dangerous and maybe I was able to go in [to the corner], but I was on the limit and I had to go wide and I lost much time and many positions. In the end we are only in the first race and we still have a lot of the championship to come.

"It is a difficult first corner because when you are wide just a little bit you go onto a dirty place and it is really slippery. I tried to push from the beginning and I did a mistake and now I will know for the future," he added.

"I tried to keep pushing and at time I was 2.5 seconds to [Andrea] Iannone and [Jorge] Lorenzo but on the last three laps I did a mistake and nearly crashed on one corner and I decided that it was time to say 'okay, 11 points are enough today'.

"It was difficult to accept, but it was important to understand that because maybe two years ago the end of the race would be in the gravel."

Marquez said it was difficult to assess whether or not he could have run the same lap times achieved by race winner Rossi and runner-up Dovizioso on the final laps at Losail on a similarly worn tyre without having found himself in a situation to challenge the two leaders.

"The problem here is that if you push 100 percent all the race alone you can overheat the tyres and that was the problem. When I overtook many riders I overheated the tyres and you need to cool down one or two laps, but it was not possible," he said.

"You never know [if he could match the lap times of Rossi and Dovizioso on the final laps] because when you are there you manage the race in a different way, but the rhythm was there because in some parts of the race I was faster than them.

"On the last two laps Valentino and Dovi pushed a lot but you never know because when you are there you can manage the tyres, slow down a little bit and it is different. I felt I was ready to fight for the victory but now it is too late."

Marquez also said he isn't reading too much into the outcome of the race in Qatar and is confident he will regroup and be in a position to fight for victory in the next race in Austin.

"I'm not worried, we finished fifth because we did a mistake; the bike is good, my feeling is good and everything looks fine, so in Austin we will try of course to fight for the victory," he said.

"In the warm-up I saw that Valentino will be there and he was really impressive in the race. What was also strange was that it looked like Honda in the practice, but in the race Honda was back and Yamaha was at the front, but in Austin we will try to change this situation."

Asked for his version of an incident during which Marquez apparently clipped the brake lever of Aprilia rider Alvaro Bautista during an overtaking move, the 22-year-old said: "I'm really sorry for him [Alvaro Bautista] because I did not know until I saw the video because the contact was not really big, he went wide a little bit and I went in but it was not a big contact.

"Again, sorry to him because the relationship with him is really good and it was just unlucky."

Bautista was forced to retire from the race with damaged front left brake lines and sensors after the collision at Turn 6 on the opening lap.

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We all know the greatness of MM, but like DJfrom TJ says, he can't just go ramming himself through the field to catch up his lose. Let's face it MM, you are number 1, but mistakes happen and you can't win 'em all - it's difficult to accept.

He should have received at least a ride through for barging into Bautista - who had to retire as a result.

Being the champion, and on a Honda should not make you immune from penalties.

Why is the result difficult to accept? Marc blew the start and created his own problems. Still, he ended the first lap less than 2 seconds behind Rossi and by lap 8 he was only 2 places but nearly 4 seconds behind Rossi. He did cut the gap to Rossi somewhat during the middle of the race but then it opened again. Rossi clearly had better pace. If you want to win races, don't mke mistakes!