Jorge Lorenzo felt he made the wrong judgement in selecting a three-run strategy in final qualifying for the Japanese MotoGP even though the Movistar Yamaha rider sealed his fourth pole of the season.
In a tense shootout with team-mate and championship leader Valentino Rossi, the Majorcan nudged his title rival off the top spot with his final lap after setting a stunning time of 1m 43.790s to come out on top by 0.081s at Motegi.
Lorenzo had dominated each of the free practice sessions but Rossi emerged as something of a surprise package in Q2, dramatically closing the deficit and seeming on course for pole until the final seconds.
The Italian, who opted for a two-stop stint, was able to use Lorenzo as a target in his first time attack but later improved his time on the Movistar Yamaha on his own as the pair slogged it out.
“From outside it was very nice session to watch. In the last hour before the qualifying the humidity increased, so this gave me a little problem on the entry of the corner, especially in Turn 1 and Turn 5, and with the same engine braking the rear was locking so much and I didn't have the same confidence,” said Lorenzo.
“I had to work a little bit more in the electronics and in my riding so we don't suffer so much and it has been difficult to achieve the same feeling as this morning.
“But with a new tyre you try everything to make the fastest lap possible. I am very happy with the pole position but maybe I did a mistake in choosing the strategy because today it probably was a bit better to just make two tyres and don't show in this case the wheel to Valentino [Rossi], who is our strong rival at this moment,” he added.
“Apart from making the pole position I was always the fastest and had some little gap, but then they improved the setting I believe and this helped him to improve so much the lap time.
“Then on the second tyre this following probably helped him to be a little bit faster but anyway we have to learn from these mistakes in strategy for the future to be a little bit more clever.”
Lorenzo tweaked his shoulder after a training incident on a mini bike following his victory at Aragon and although it is causing him some discomfort, the 28-year-old says he is 'very happy' overall with his physical condition.
“I am very happy about the shoulder because five days ago I was very worried about the pain and the condition, but luckily everything improved so much,” he said.
“The improvement has maybe been a little bit slower because you stress the shoulder riding the bike, but anyway today I feel better than yesterday and probably tomorrow I will be even better. Five days ago I saw the future much more bad.”