Cal Crutchlow hailed Valentino Rossi's incisive fight through to second in the Qatar Grand Prix after lamenting his own struggles to pass the two factory Hondas.
The Briton had started MotoGP's 2013 opener from second, but lost out to Dani Pedrosa away from the line and was then out-dragged by Marc Marquez on lap four.
That ultimately spoiled his race, with the Briton unable to find a way back past despite his conviction that on pace alone he would have finished second.
Crutchlow said his own struggles highlighted just how good Rossi's moves through the field had been.
"Valentino was amazing, the best I've seen him ride for a long, long time," Crutchlow said. "He managed to close the gap to me, Dani and Marc very well. I paid dearly for my speed [deficit to the Hondas]. I couldn't pass them; I was faster, yes, but it was impossible.
"Stuck behind the Honda it is very difficult for the Yamaha to run smooth lines. I rode the best I could just to lose speed on the straight. We had some speed restrictions, and I also had to change the map to avoid running out of fuel [which made] it even harder."
Crutchlow said he was not too disheartened despite missing out on what would have been a third MotoGP podium.
"I'm disappointed but we can take a strong fifth," he said. "My speed all weekend and my pace in race were good, and [we were] fast in the sessions. We can take away great positives."
He downplayed expectations for the second round at Austin however after Tech 3 elected not to join the works Yamaha and Honda outfits and satellite squad LCR for March's private pre-season test.
"[I have] bad expectations for Texas because everyone else tested," Crutchlow cautioned. "If I can be best of the rest I will be happy enough."