Casey Stoner said he was not too surprised to be beaten by Jorge Lorenzo in the Valencia Grand Prix as he had never been convinced he had the pace to dominate this weekend.
In his final event with Ducati before leaving for Honda, Stoner was quickest in two out of the three practice sessions and took pole with a 0.3-second margin. But he insisted after qualifying that he was not entirely happy with the bike still, and in the race he was unable to pull away. Yamaha rider Lorenzo ultimately passed him with six laps to go and then pulled away.
"We started that race and things felt a little bit difficult with the bike," Stoner said. "Things may have looked good yesterday in qualifying and practice but we knew we were far from where we wanted to be. So we tried everything in the morning warm-up, couldn't find a good solution and for the race it was kind of similar. We weren't really running the lap times we thought we could."
Lorenzo had fallen as low as seventh as he diced with Marco Simoncelli in the opening laps, and Stoner reckoned that should have been enough to rule the Spaniard out of victory contention had the Ducati's pace been slightly better.
"If we'd been running the lap times we thought we could, we might have been able to make a big enough gap to Jorge that with his trouble back in the pack he wouldn't have been able to catch us," said Stoner. "But the way it worked out, he pulled me in, and for the rest of the race I just saw '+ 0, + 1' on my pit board and was just braking as late as I could trying to hold everybody off.
"I felt we did a good job. We were still running a good enough pace to pull away from the rest of the group, just Jorge was too fast and it was just a matter of time before he was going to pass me."
Stoner was still satisfied that he had given it everything in his last race of a four-year Ducati stint that has delivered 23 wins, 22 poles and the 2007 world title.
"My hat's off to Jorge, he deserves his world championship and this win today," said Stoner. "We did everything we could. Big thanks to Ducati for these last four years, it's been great."