Andrea Dovizioso reckoned he could have mounted an even stronger challenge for his first podium of 2009 had he not lost ground at the start at Catalunya. The Honda rider fell back from fourth to sixth on the first lap, and although he later caught Casey Stoner for third, he missed out on the final podium spot by 0.052 seconds.
"Unfortunately I'm unable to start very well because we have a slightly different clutch compared to the other Honda riders," Dovizioso explained to Italia1.
"It doesn't bite very well at the start, so it unfortunately influences the races a bit, because I don't have the same pace as the leaders, and missing the chance of starting like they do prevents me from making up the gap. Had I started better I could have done the whole race with Stoner."
The Italian said that he did not feel comfortable with team-mate Dani Pedrosa's clutch set-up in race conditions, so preferred to go his own way even though Pedrosa is renowned for fast starts.
"The problem is that I don't like the way his clutch works under braking because it blocks too much," Dovizioso said. "This is the problem. It's more important to lap quick than to start well. Unfortunately I can't start as well as I used to last year."
Despite his disappointment with the start, Dovizioso was pleased with his third consecutive fourth place.
"I'm very happy with the race," he said. "We've fought once again for the podium and close to the leaders. That means that we're improving, especially in the feeling with the bike, which has always been a problem up to now.
"I knew Stoner would be very strong in the last laps, and in fact he pushed hard in the last lap and a half and I didn't have a chance to attack.
"Unfortunately the conditions were very difficult for everyone today, as we didn't have grip at the front not at the rear, so it was difficult to attack. He was very good, he managed to brake hard and close the door in the last laps."