Valentino Rossi has explained his sudden decline during Sunday's Austin MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas.

After dropping from sixth to the lower end of the top ten on lap one, the Movistar Yamaha rider battled back through the pack to challenge Andrea Iannone for third by the middle stages.

But the nine time world champion then plummeted down the order to eighth at the flag.

"We destroyed the front tyre completely on the right side," said Rossi. "I had the same problem during the weekend but less than this. Especially this morning we made a good step and with a used tyre I could do all the warm up so we were quite positive.

"Unfortunately after seven or eight laps the front was gone and I had to go three seconds slower. It's a pity because we could do another podium, which was the perfect target here in Austin, unfortunately no way."

Other riders including Iannone, who dropped back to seventh place, suffered similar front tyre issues.

Rossi had been hoping for a strong COTA showing to underline his improved 2014 form. The Doctor did at least set the fastest Yamaha lap of the race.

Team director Massimo Meregalli felt sure that Rossi, who struggled to sixth in Texas last season, would have claimed a podium without the issue.

"Unfortunately Valentino completely destroyed the right side of his front tyre after a few laps. We had suffered already this weekend with this and made some changes to the set up, this morning we could do 16 laps with the tyre still looking good so we thought the problem was solved.

"It's a shame because as a result we lost the podium here in Texas, where we knew from the beginning it was going to be a tough race."

Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo jumped the start and finished in tenth after a ride-through penalty, completing a forgettable event for Yamaha.

Rossi, starting alongside Lorenzo, admitted he had been distracted by the incident.

"With the mistake by Jorge unfortunately I lost the moment. It was scary a little bit. I thought, 'f**k' what happened?' then the lights went out, I spun a lot on the dirty part of the track and made a shit start. Anyway I think I could have arrived third without the tyre problem. It's a shame to lose points in the championship."

Rossi - a close runner-up in Qatar - is now third in the championship, but already 28 points behind reigning champion Marc Marquez, winner of both events so far this season.