Dani Pedrosa admits he was wracked with doubts about his tire choice at Valencia and that only a last-second "instinct" call made him start from the pits.
The move proved decisive – rather than losing 25 seconds switching to a second bike mid-race, he had to contend with a far smaller deficit and within eight laps had duly closed to within two seconds of leader and MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo.
Pedrosa said he had settled on starting with wets and trying to build an early advantage when the warm-up lap threw him into sudden turmoil.
"I saw Jorge choose slicks, but I was pretty calm with my decision [to start on wets]," he explained. "In the 10 minutes waiting [on the grid] though the track suddenly dried much more. I was thinking maybe of doing one lap [on wets], then of starting from the pits – I wasn't sure. And then instinct came into play and I went into the pits – I've never started from the pitlane but I decided at the last corner to come in.
"Waiting in the pitlane was a really bad feeling but after the crucial start, when everyone was sliding, I was immediately fast so I could overtake others and catch Jorge."
Pedrosa had closed to within half a second of his Yamaha rival when he suddenly lost time – the result, he later confirmed, of wrongly going into neutral at Turn 7.
"Unfortunately, I made a mistake and went into neutral, but then the next lap Jorge made a mistake and crashed at the same place," Pedrosa said. "[From there] it was a long race because it was hard to keep focus given the huge advantage, but finally it came right."
Pedrosa, who ended the year 18 points behind champion Lorenzo, and with one more win to his credit, added: "It's been a good season, so thanks to the team and to the fans."