Jorge Lorenzo said his Portuguese Grand Prix victory came as a surprise because he had feared his Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi would be unbeatable as he edged away early on.
The track was still slightly damp in places at the start, and with the whole field uncertain about their bikes' handling having not had any dry practice at all, the race took some time to settle down. The Yamahas then broke away, with Rossi opening up a lead of nearly two seconds and looking unlikely to be caught.
"I thought, 'OK, this race is going to be difficult,'" Lorenzo recalled. "Vale had good pace and he was going away. So I was patient, I waited a bit, caught my pace, improved my lap time with every lap, and at the end he was a little bit slower and I could take the race.
"He was really, really quick. But for the first two laps after he overtook me, he was maybe one second faster than me. But then the gap remained [the same]. Maybe five laps after, I started to catch him.
"Then I was worried that maybe he could stay with me to the end, but it was not like this so I could win."
Lorenzo reckoned he probably would not have taken so many chances to catch and pass Rossi if he had not already clinched this year's championship.
"When I was thinking about the championship, I had to be a little bit more patient and not take so many risks," said Lorenzo. "But now with the championship in my pocket, and at my favorite track, I could go for victory."
The result was not only Lorenzo's third in as many years at Estoril, but also ended a victory drought stretching back to the Czech GP in August. He said he had always been confident he would win again before the year was over.
"It's a lot of time that I didn't get a victory, but my confidence was still the same – very high," he said.
"I didn't worry about it, because maybe in those races I didn't have the best conditions and our rivals had improved. I understood that maybe at some other tracks I could win."