Dani Pedrosa felt he had the pace to fight for the first victory of his final MotoGP season, during Sunday's Thai Grand Prix.

Instead, he fell soon after catching the lead group, on lap 18 of 26, having clawed his way back through the field after the 'massive' disadvantage of being 'forced' to run the hard rear tyre.

Due to the extreme conditions at Buriram, with more heat and wheel spin than predicted following February's test, Michelin's Piero Taramasso said on Saturday 'the only tyre we suggest for the race is the hard one'.

Taramasso added it was for performance, rather safety reasons and that some riders lower on the grid would probably take a gamble. Ultimately, only Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro chose to race without the hard rear tyre, finishing in 13th place on the soft.

But Pedrosa, the lightest rider on the grid, made clear he didn't feel he had a choice.

"We were forced to use the hard rear and I had a huge, massive, disadvantage on that. Because for me, to warm-up this tyre was almost impossible," he said. "It took me five laps [in the race] and I had to do two extra laps before the grid, to clean the tyre and try to give temperature, when all my rivals put the new tyre in on the grid.

"Even then they had a lot more grip, so it was a massive disadvantage. Then I had a problem on the clutch and this didn't allow me to make a good start, so then in the first corner I wasn't that strong and Miller came in, released the brakes and took us both out.

"This made us lose even more positions later on the straight because we didn’t make a good exit from the first corner.

"I lost so many seconds, maybe four seconds, in the first couple of laps but then I caught back to them before the crash. So this is the positive part but unfortunately it ended in a crash and I think it would be a lot different if I could start from the front.

"But the disadvantage was massive today on the rear tyre at the beginning. That's the problem, but… nobody cares."

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The Repsol Honda rider was in fifth position when he lost the front of his RC213V at the Turn 5 left hander.

"I had to make all the effort to come back to where I could have been all the time and that's why it finally ended up in a crash, because I was pushing," he said. "I was getting closer every time, then just went in and tucked the front on the bump.

"I had the feeling there was the potential to win, regarding the pace, but then obviously when you arrive at the group you have to fight, you have to find the way to pass and make things work.

"I don’t know how it would have been at the end in the group fighting, but obviously regarding the pace, yes it was possible [to win]… If I compare with the front group, it was the closest [I've been for a long time]."

The Spaniard, whose team-mate Marc Marquez went on to win the race, has four more chances to try and at least claim a podium from his final MotoGP season before retirement.

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