Andrea Iannone was left to reflect on what might have been as the Ducati MotoGP rider blew his start before battling back to take the final place on the rostrum at Mugello.
Iannone had topped the free practice time sheets in the dry and qualified third fastest on the front row in Italy, but he made a poor start to leave himself languishing in 11th place at the end of the opening lap.
The Italian rider fought his way through and became locked in a battle for the last spot on the rostrum with Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.
Iannone – who established a new top speed record at Mugello of 220.5mph on the Desmosedici GP16 – posted the fastest lap of the race on his final lap to keep Pedrosa at bay, making amends for the disappointment of his tumble in the previous race at Le Mans.
“I'm very happy because it's important for us, especially in this race, the podium is always a good performance,” Iannone said.
“I have a very big disappointment for the start because it was very bad. After the first lap I saw 11th position and it's very difficult to recover the gap to Dovi and Dani and also for Marc.
“After three or four laps, step by step I improved my pace and I'm very happy for this because I showed a very good, consistent pace – a very fast pace for all the race.
“In the last lap, I gave my best lap of 1m 46.6 and it's important for us, especially for the future,” he added.
“Today we have a very good potential to fight for the victory and this for me is very important and I wanted, but for sure we will try in the next races.”
Reflecting on his poor start, Iannone said he has been struggling to get the Ducati off the line all season.
“This year in all races my start is very bad and I don't have a very good feeling with the clutch. We tried to adjust this problem and change the setting in the clutch – my team worked a lot and also Ducati to improve the situation but for me, always is very difficult,” he said.
“This weekend I have a little bit more positivity because all the weekend I tried the start and it is very good, but in the race not, unfortunately. It's important that we are strong and I ride for all the race at the maximum and this is very important for me and the future.”
The 26-year-old said he felt his pace was strong enough to challenge Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez for the win, but Iannone was satisfied at least to make it onto the podium in Italy on the Ducati.
“Today I had a very good pace to fight with Marc and Jorge and why not? I can beat today for sure, because for all the race my pace is very strong but in the battle, I don't know,” he said.
“I have the same pace as Jorge and Marc and the podium is a very important one for us after the last race and it is important to close this weekend with a good result.
“It is very important for everybody in Italy, for me, for Ducati and I want to continue the season in this way because I have a very good relationship with the team.”