Casey Stoner said that his third place in the Spanish Grand Prix was a better result than his victory at the season-opening race in Qatar.
The Ducati rider's result was the first time he had made it onto the podium at Jerez in any of the grand prix classes, and also the first time the Italian manufacturer was on the rostrum at the track since 2006.
"To me this feels bigger than victory in Qatar," said the 2007 world champion. "It was a really good day for us. We put in a lot of effort and the team tried everything they could to get the bike working well. It was definitely good enough for a podium."
The Australian had been suffering from issues with his front tyre during the race, and feared that he would be easy meat for Jorge Lorenzo when the polesitter closed up on him late in the race before crashing.
"We just took a gamble with the setting to try and make it rideable enough to do the race and feel comfortable," Stoner explained. "At the beginning of the race we got a fantastic start and were up there with everyone.
"Then I started to lose the front at a few corners and Valentino (Rossi) came past. I tried to stay with me as long as possible to see if he could take me up to Dani (Pedrosa). But I lost the front a few too many times and just decided to stay ahead of Jorge.
"Then he started catching me and I thought it was game over and the podium was almost gone. I decided to fight as long as I could, until the dying stages at least, and in those laps almost once every lap in different corners I was almost losing the front end.
"So I was almost ready to give up third and back off the pace, and Jorge crashed."
He admitted that he would never have predicted a podium finish today given his record at the track, even after he had qualified on the outside of the front row.
"I wasn't very nervous going into it because we didn't think we had much of a chance of getting on the podium," Stoner said. "We knew that Valentino, Dani and Jorge had higher pace than us.
"After all these years, this is my first time on the podium at Jerez, so it's been a long time coming. I've had a couple of opportunities but made mistakes and things like that."
Stoner's result moved him up to second place in the world championship, 11 points behind race winner Valentino Rossi.