Jorge Lorenzo accepts second position was the best he could have hoped for as the Movistar Yamaha rider returned to the podium in Austin after a mistake saw the MotoGP world champion lose ground in the previous round in Argentina.
Lorenzo is now 21 points behind race winner Marc Marquez in the standings as he moved into second overall after his team-mate Valentino Rossi suffered a front-end crash.
The Mallorcan was out of sorts on the opening lap of the race, running wide at turn 1 and again at turn 11 as he tried to force his way into the lead, later revealing that he was having big problems trying to stop his M1.
“I'm very happy to finish the race because today the conditions were very complicated and in the warm-up it was difficult to convince myself that I could be competitive enough to fight for the podium,” Lorenzo said.
“I did a great job thinking positive and trying to be convinced and start in a good way. The problem was that I couldn't stop the bike and that's why I made some mistakes in the first corner and in some hairpins to try and be in the first position.
“I hoped to be faster but today it was impossible and every time I was slower and slower, so today was not a day for the victory and I knew it from lap seven or eight. I just needed to finish the race and get these points,” he added.
“Some of the riders who want to fight for the championship crashed so this year probably we will see some more mistakes than in the last four or five years. Now that we crashed in Argentina, the most important thing is not to crash any more and try to reduce the gap with Marc in the next races.”
Elaborating on the issues he faced at the Circuit of the Americas, Lorenzo explained that the braking problem only materialised during the race.
“I had a lot of confidence in braking during all the weekend but today with the hard rear and the full tank, I don't know what happened and I couldn't stop the same, so always a lot of problems, always closing and going wider, so sometimes this happens,” he said.
“In Qatar I was faster than I expected and I made the lap record but here I was a lot slower than I expected, but everyone had some problems and today as in the last four years in this track, Marc made the difference and we couldn't stay with him.”
Lorenzo has been critical of the Michelin tyres but says he has no choice other than to 'accept it', although he warned that more crashes seemed inevitable.
“We were a little bit scared to see how the new tyres that Michelin brings here were compared to the other one, but we saw that maybe you need a little bit more time to warm up and later it was not much different,” said Lorenzo.
“But probably, still we don't know the reasons why in Sepang and Argentina some Ducatis, not official bikes, have this problem. But obviously Michelin thinks with this tyre all the riders are safer to keep on the track with the best conditions. We have to accept it and try to work with these tyres.
“We saw many crashes with the front, obviously Michelin improve the front every time more and more but still we don't have the same confidence of the last few years that sometimes if you lose the front, you could save the crash,” he added.
“Now if you lose the front there are much more chances that you fall off and this is the next step to improve. With this front tyre, the range of performance is very tiny, with the empty tank maybe it is working well but with the full tank it is closing,” he said.
“If you have a soft rear the front is closing less than if you have the hard one, so you have to understand in which conditions you are and you have to be in control of all the small things.”
Looking back at his own spill in Argentina, Lorenzo admits it was a situation he could have avoided.
“Probably with more patience I could finish in the podium places with the crashes of [Maverick] Vinales and the two Ducatis but I was not patient. Maybe I was used to the last conditions when I never crashed, but I needed to be a little bit more careful to stay on the bike and now I regret a little bit this,” he said.
“I cannot change it and like we saw today we can see more crashes for all the riders. We now arrive into tracks that normally suit better for me and the bike.”