Andrea Dovizioso believes Marco Simoncelli cost him a shot at the Qatar Grand Prix podium by being too aggressive when they were battling for fourth.
Dovizioso eventually finished just behind his third-placed works Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, having eventually overcome Gresini rider Simoncelli, whose Honda is also factory specification. But Dovizioso reckoned that had he not lost time in one particular close call with Simoncelli, he could have taken on Pedrosa properly.
"I lost time in the fight with Simoncelli, his passing maneuver was at the limit in my opinion," said Dovizioso."This was a crucial moment because we lost time which we needed to fight for the podium."
Dovizioso was pleased with his speed in the race, having progressed from seventh on the grid, but admitted he was not yet on the pace of team-mates Pedrosa and Casey Stoner.
"I'm a bit disappointed because our target was the podium but all in all I had a good race," he said. "In the first laps I thought I could fight for the podium and I'm satisfied with my pace, I also did my fastest lap on the last lap. We ran with a strong pace and the bike was constant but we need to make another step forward to stay with Casey and Dani."
Simoncelli declared himself "delighted" with his ride to fifth place.
"I am really happy because I thought my pace would be in the 1m56sec but we were able to better it," he said. "At one point, when I passed Dovizioso, I thought I might be able to go after [Jorge] Lorenzo but I made a little mistake and it broke my rhythm. Then at the end in the battle with Dovizioso I was slightly slower than him on used tires and I dropped off.
"Anyway, it was great to see the others so close up and I am sure this was my best race – maybe not the result but in terms of my consistency and the distance to the race winner."