Valentino Rossi was bitterly disappointed to throw away a golden chance to claim points on his MotoGP title rivals at Assen on Sunday.
Fast all weekend, the Italian was holding third when a rain storm forced the original race to be halted.
The Movistar Yamaha rider than charged into the lead on the opening lap of a 12-lap restart and began to pull away. But it counted for nothing when he slid from his M1 on lap 3.
“It is a great shame, because today was a good chance to make a good result and take some important points for the championship. In the dry I had a good pace, but also in the wet I was not so bad,” began Rossi, speaking in the paddock on Sunday evening.
“I think it was right to red flag the first race because the amount of water was too much and it began to get very dangerous. The bike started to aquaplane a lot and you couldn't see anything behind another bike.
“But I felt good and I had a good pace. So for the second part we put the soft rear tyre [instead of the hard] and it felt even better. I had a good start and I tried to go fast because with the soft rear I had a lot more grip.
“But I did a mistake. I was too fast. I pushed too hard. It was too much. It was a stupid mistake unfortunately and I'm very sorry for all the team because today we can win.”
Rossi explained that the accident occurred because the extra grip from the soft rear tyre meant he arrived at Turn 10 faster than expected and should have braked earlier to compensate.
“We put the soft in the second part of the race and in Turn 9 I was a lot faster because I can open the throttle earlier and I arrive at Turn 10 and brake in the same point. But I arrived 4-5 km/h faster and I lost the front.”
The Doctor was visibly frustrated after the accident and admitted it was tough to leave Assen with zero points after producing such a strong performance until the error.
“All weekend, I was always very precise in the riding style and I never make a mistake because all the other guys make mistakes, crash and everything,” he said. “But unfortunately I made the mistake in the most important moment.
“I couldn't hear the noise of the other riders, so I already I had a good advantage [in the lead]. On lap 2 I saw 49.3 on my pit board so I say 'I want to push another lap to take advantage and after try to control the situation'. But unfortunately the mistake was that I pushed too hard.
“When you lose a race like this is a shame. I try to restart but unfortunately the guys don't help me a lot! But anyway already the disaster was the same, maybe [I could get] one point.”
Although only 13 riders finished the race and Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo struggled to tenth, world championship leader Marc Marquez claimed a hefty 20 points for second place.
“I am very sorry, especially for the championship, because we had an advantage compared to the others and could gain some important points - especially on Lorenzo, who was in difficulty this weekend, but of course against Marquez. And now all is more difficult because the advantage of Marquez is quite big.”
Rossi is now 42 points behind Honda's Marquez and 18 from Lorenzo as the championship reaches its midway stage at Sachsenring next time out. Marquez has finished every race (although he fell in France), while Lorenzo has two DNFs and Rossi three.
“I think that one '0', my mistake in Austin, you can put in account,” Rossi said. “But this one is a problem for the championship. Especially if you add the '0' in Mugello for the engine.
“But you know, is not finished until it's finished. Now we have just to try the best every race track, try to be competitive every weekend. The championship is long. We will see.”
Although there wasn't much for Rossi to smile about on Sunday, a shock victory for Jack Miller was the notable exception.
“The victory of Jack is the only good thing of today for me,” Rossi declared. “Because we have a good relationship. I like him a lot. I love it when he drinks from the boot [on podium]!
“I'm very happy for him. He deserves it after the injury at the beginning of the year. He is a great guy and I think he has a good talent. He risked a lot to go to MotoGP. I don't know if it was the right choice, from my point of view, but with the victory of today maybe he is right and I am wrong!”
By Peter McLaren