Pol Espargaro saw a first MotoGP podium slip away when he fell moments after rejoining the Sachsenring race - while just behind eventual winner Marc Marquez.
Espargaro had pitted for his dry bike on the same lap (17) as the Repsol Honda star, but lost control at Turn 2.
The race leaders stayed out until lap 23 of 30 before making their pits stops, allowing Marquez to claim a ten-second victory.
“We had the podium in our fingers,” Espargaro said. “I think it was the best strategy in my life, but the worst end of my life. Well, maybe not the best strategy because we put intermediates instead of slicks.
“But in the end the biggest mistake was mine and I crashed in the second corner.
"We chose the extra soft tyre to start the race and it was too weak. I couldn't turn and was not comfortable riding the bike. I was tenth and had nothing to lose. So I pitted.
"I saw that Márquez was also in my situation; he was not really good in the wet, was far behind and he chose to pit. So we chose the same moment more or less, we had the same situation.
“I think we had the podium, because we were really close to Marquez when we exited pit lane, and in dry conditions we had the pace. But suddenly I crashed. I think I touched the water. I was so slow, but I just lost the front.”
Espargaro revealed that he had never tried the intermediate Michelins until he left the pits on his dry bike during the race.
“The team thought it was the best option, like the factory, but actually I had never tried the intermediates before, so it was my first time on the intermediates.
“Maybe this was one of the problems. Because I never tried it, it feels different. And one of the problems with not having tried a tyre is that you have to get used to it straight away. To do that in one race was too much for me today.
“I'm not saying this was a bad choice. I think even with the intermediate we could be on the podium. The podium was mine if we didn't crash.”
While most of his rivals head for the Austria test and then summer break, Espargaro plans to put the Sachsenring disappointment behind him with another strong showing in the Suzuka 8 Hours
“I have a race in one week, this will be the way to clear my mind,” he said. “Go to Suzuka, make pole position again, and fight for the victory again with my teammates and this will be my mentality until the next race, and my way to try to forget this.”
By Peter McLaren