Casey Stoner blamed cold tires for his first lap exit from the Malaysian Grand Prix, a mistake he was certain cost him a great shot at victory.
Although the Ducati rider had only qualified fifth, he moved straight up to third and was poised to battle with leaders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso before he fell at the last corner of the opening lap.
"I'm bitterly disappointed with this weekend," said Stoner, who arrived at Sepang fresh from back to back wins at Aragon and Motegi. "Going into that race we were confident of a good result. We knew we would be at the front challenging for the win and watching the race confirmed that. I know I had the pace to be up there.
"On the first lap I was calm, I made up some positions in the first two corners and when I got behind Dovizioso and Lorenzo I was happy to stay there and let the tires get up to temperature. Unfortunately I crashed because they weren't warm enough but I don't think I could have been more careful over those opening laps. I'm so disappointed that such a small thing can ruin an entire weekend."
Stoner's team-mate Nicky Hayden managed to reach the finish in sixth, but admitted this was a disappointing result given that he had qualified second – his best starting position for Ducati so far.
"After qualifying and even warm-up this morning we were confident we could have a good race and put up a better fight than that," said the American. "I got a decent start but I was struggling for feel under braking, I don't know why. It has been a strong point for us all weekend but in the race I had no feeling from the front tire from the first corner and couldn't brake how I wanted. It made life difficult, especially when it came to battling with other riders.
"Sixth isn't a terrible result, but we thought we could put up a stronger fight here."