Alvaro Bautista reckoned the United States Grand Prix could have been one of his best MotoGP performances so far had he not crashed out while chasing the Ducatis.
The Suzuki rider was gaining on Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, who finished sixth and seventh, when he fell at Turn 2 on lap 14. Prior to the accident, Bautista felt he had been making a breakthrough.
"I am very, very disappointed after today and really frustrated because although we did a really good job all weekend, we didn't get the result we deserved and I crashed," he said. "We tried many different things here this weekend and used a completely different setting to last year and we managed to get the same good feeling as we had in Germany. This is the best I have felt on a bike in my MotoGP career so I know things are moving in the right direction."
Bautista had been fighting through from a disappointing 12th on the grid when he fell.
"I overtook some other guys and got behind the Ducatis, but I was a bit far away and had to catch them up," he explained. "My rhythm was really good and I had a lot of confidence in the bike, but I lost the front without any reason and crashed. I had entered that corner at the same speed and in the same place in previous laps so I don't know what happened.
"I am happy with the work we did this weekend and pleased with my level on the bike. Before the crash I was fighting for sixth or seventh and I know we can be there now and we have to keep working at this level and higher in the next races. We now have some time to relax and charge our batteries, so we can be full gas for Brno."
Team boss Paul Denning suggested Bautista had shown top five pace prior to his mistake.
"Starting from 12th was never going to make the job easy, but a very aggressive first couple of laps, and then settling in to a good rhythm saw him right back in the fight and another entertaining duel with the factory Ducatis was in the cards," said Denning. "Equally, once the race settled down, our lap times were not so different from [Andrea] Dovizioso and [Ben] Spies battling for fourth, so despite today's disappointment there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend at Laguna Seca."