Casey Stoner admitted he could not make the hard Bridgestone tire work in race conditions after finishing a disappointed fourth in the Catalunya Grand Prix.
The result was the first time since Jerez in early 2011 - when Stoner was taken out by Valentino Rossi - that the Honda rider had not been on the podium.
Stoner started from pole position, but fell back immediately in the race, running as low as sixth for a spell, before recovering to push Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovizioso for third. While his team-mate Dani Pedrosa finished second with the same choice of hard tires, Stoner felt his rubber option cost him too much ground early on.
"I'm a little disappointed, we gave it everything at the end but we just didn't have the pace, especially in the beginning with the hard tire," said Stoner. "It seemed that only Dani could really make that tire work today and he made it work better than us."
The Australian said he had been concerned that wear would be too high on the soft tire, which Jorge Lorenzo used on his way to victory, and that the hard would allow him to be stronger in the closing stages.
"With the performance we had during the weekend we expected to be a little stronger throughout the race," Stoner said. "We knew the beginning was going to be tough but we believed that towards the end we would be able to run a higher pace.
"We weren't sure if the softer tire was going to be a problem for us in the race so we took the safer option today. We thought we had a better bike and better pace, but it didn't come together. Still we came home with some points and we have the test here tomorrow to work on the chatter issues so I'm sure we'll be back fighting at the top again soon."
The Catalunya result leaves Stoner 20 points behind leader Lorenzo in the MotoGP championship standings.