Valentino Rossi said the continued effect of his shoulder injury was the main reason why he was unable to end his Yamaha career with a victory in the Valencia Grand Prix.
Although the former champion was right on leader Casey Stoner and eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo's tails for a while, he lost pace in the closing stages and finished in third place, eight seconds adrift.
He blamed his fading pace on a lack of strength, having suffered from the after-effects of a Motocross crash for most of the season. At one stage Rossi had considered ending his 2010 campaign early in order to have shoulder surgery to correct the problem, but ultimately decided to race on.
"At one point in the race I thought it was possible to win, when I was behind Casey," said Rossi. "But after Jorge arrived, he was better than anybody today and he deserved the race. He had a little bit better pace than us.
"Unfortunately like in Portugal, and here it was worse, I lost [physical] power for the last laps. I'm not at 100 percent. I need too much effort to stop the bike on the last laps. I had to slow down a bit."
Rossi said he was still very satisfied to be able to say goodbye to Yamaha from the podium. He will join Ducati next season having taken 29 poles, won 46 races, and four world championships since moving to Yamaha from Honda in 2004.
"The podium is good for the last race with Yamaha and it was a great race for me compared to the bad practice," said Rossi. "We improved the setting a lot for this afternoon. Unfortunately, I missed the start but straightaway I could push a lot, I had great grip and I could do some overtaking.
"But this third place is good for saying 'thank you' to Yamaha for these great seven seasons and a lot of fun. It was a great, great experience."