Marco Simoncelli said cold tires were the cause of his first-lap crash in the Portuguese Grand Prix, and is confident he would have been a victory contender had he kept going.
After a breakthrough weekend in which he dominated practice and came close to a maiden MotoGP pole before crashing and having to settle for second, Simoncelli's race ended in disaster just four corners into the opening lap, when he had a violent high-side. The Italian was adamant that he had done little wrong and that the crash was due to extremely low tire temperatures.
"I'm so sorry for this crash because today we had the potential to fight for the podium and for the victory," Simoncelli said. "I did maybe a little mistake. But I think the fault is of the cold tire on the left side, because in the exit of Turn 1 we inclined the bike a little bit on the left on acceleration and there for the first time I lost the rear.
"So in the other corners I paid attention, especially in Turn 4, I did the corner with one gear higher to have the bike more neutral and smooth but in the middle of the corner, without throttle, I crashed. There was nothing I could do."
He was still upbeat about his weekend, saying it had been more important to show he was quick enough to fight at the front.
"I'm so sorry for me, for my team, but this is racing," said Simoncelli. "The good thing is that I'm fast and our potential is high, and we'll try to do better in the next race."
The Gresini Honda rider admitted that the accident had been a painful one.
"I have a little bit of pain in my back, and also some problems with my neck," he said.
Simoncelli's weekend was also notable for a public row over with Jorge Lorenzo over on-track ethics during the post-qualifying press conference. The Italian said the tension between them would remain.
"With Lorenzo, nothing changed," Simoncelli said. "I didn't speak with him before and I'll continue with not speaking."