Jorge Lorenzo said his runner-up finish at Aragon came as a surprise with the Movistar Yamaha rider expecting to finish 'sixth or seventh' in Spain.
Lorenzo edged team-mate Valentino Rossi to second place as he closed the gap to the Italian in the championship to 14 points as they dispute second place behind title favourite and Aragon race winner Marc Marquez.
A crash during morning warm-up ultimately proved an unlikely positive for Lorenzo, who explained: “Sometimes a negative thing creates a positive thing and today the crash made me do two warm-up laps to try both bikes because normally we just make one warm-up lap in dry conditions, but today because we wanted to check the crashed bike we made these two. I felt okay and when I tried the first bike with the hard rear tyre I felt finally okay because during the practice I didn't like the feeling with the hard.
“When I tried the second bike with the soft I didn't feel the same, I felt the bike more moving in the acceleration and braking,” he said. “It was difficult to choose in this situation but finally my instinct after the crash made me make this race: fast from the beginning and constant and I put everything on the track.”
“Finally in a very difficult situation when we expected to finish sixth or seventh, the race can surprise you and we finished in a positive way in second and very close to the winner. I'm delighted, I'm very happy and we saved a very difficult situation.”
Lorenzo was involved in a fierce scrap for the lead on the opening lap with Marquez and Maverick Vinales and acknowledged that no-on was prepared to give an inch.
“At the beginning, nobody wanted to get passed and Maverick, Marc, myself wanted to stay on the lead and it was very aggressive: I had fun on the first laps. Then the race was stable and I didn't have the same pace on the full tank like Rossi or Maverick, but finally every lap I felt better and better and I could brake later,” Lorenzo said.
“I recovered the gap with Maverick and Valentino but when I passed Rossi, I started to slow a little bit and dropped in pace. Rossi stayed behind and I knew he wanted to try in the last laps, so I was lucky this time that he made this mistake in braking because I am sure our fight will last until the last corner.”
In an unpredictable championship that saw eight consecutive different winners before Sunday's race at Aragon, Lorenzo said anything can happen on race day even when a podium finish may have seemed out of reach.
“I was really focused to ride at my best, even in a track with this bike that didn't give me good confidence. Everything can happen in this championship this year; nobody expected Dani to win in Misano and today we expected him to stay with Marc – the two Hondas fighting for the win – but he was 17 seconds from the leader.
“In this championship you always can be faithful that you can make a good race when you are on the back [foot].”