It was hard to disagree with Jorge Lorenzo's assertion that the illusive first win with Ducati “is coming”, in the wake of another impressive MotoGP showing at Aragon, which yielded a strong third place.

The Majorcan posted his finest showing in Ducati red to date, riding brilliantly from the start with Michelin’s soft rear tyre fitted to lead the first 15 laps, before the advancing Marc Marquez pounced.

It was around then, Lorenzo said, that his rear tyre had very much passed its best, leaving him powerless to prevent Marquez escaping for his fifth win of the season, and Dani Pedrosa swiping second three laps from the flag.

His margin to first at the close of the race – always an important barometer to measure Lorenzo’s performances this year – stood at a mere 2.028s, the closest the 30-year old has come to tasting victory champagne in 2017.

And while there were warm embraces with team management and engineers in parc fermé, Lorenzo had that inkling of frustration, knowing he had come so close to breaking his victory duck for the Bologna factory.

“For once I prefer much more this podium than Jerez one because the important thing is we are getting closer to the victory,” he said. “But for the other side, it’s a little bit pity to lead for so long the race and being so close to the victory, just see Marc very, very close and don’t get it, and also make the worst position that you could finish.

“But [the] important thing is that we are progressing, especially for my side knowing more the bike, knowing the way to get the maximum especially on the race for the Ducati. The team is giving me always some little details that give my life more easy. We are progressing very quickly.”

Does he feel his first victory will come sooner, rather than later? “Yeah, it’s coming,” he responded. “This time the pity was that we couldn’t choose the medium rear tyre, or the hard one in the case of Marc because we couldn’t generate the same grip. I feel a lot of difference from the medium rear tire to the soft.

“In the FP4 I used the soft and I saw that it was quite consistent but we knew in the last seven or ten laps we were going to struggle and was like that. We struggled so much. A lot of spinning.

“Dani and especially Marc have some more traction. I have to adjust to develop the pace. I try my best to keep Dani in my eye, but was impossible. It’s good. Good podium and for sure the victory is very close.”

Lorenzo was at the front of a tight four-way scrap for much of the race, but even he, Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso were never more than two seconds clear of the chasing group, which included, at one point, five riders.

Due to his selection of the soft rear, the Majorcan was asked whether he was deliberately measuring his pace in the race’s first half to ensure tyre degradation did not become to debilitating in the final laps?

“If I don’t use my pace I was in tenth position,” Lorenzo countered. “I lose nine positions because the group was huge. I was controlling the throttle especially. I learn to ride a little bit more smooth in the throttle. I was trying not to spin so much to save more the tyre.

“But finally was the soft rear tire so finally 23 laps was a lot. The last seven laps as I expected was very difficult to keep in the 49’s and to keep the pace from that guys. I couldn’t do so much more. The tyre was destroyed especially in the left side.”

Next on the calendar is the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, a track at which Lorenzo excelled in 2013 and ’14. From the five-time world champion’s words, it’s clear he is aiming to go two better in a little under three weeks’ time.

“Aragon was not the ideal time for this bike, for our bike, especially the last years,” he said. “The only year that they’ve been very competitive was the first time here in 2010, but then the last five years was not the best track, but Motegi can be.

“Motegi can be and is the next one, so I have a lot of wishes for this track. It’s one of my favorite tracks. A lot of hard braking, a lot of acceleration. There we can try again to fight for the victory.”