Cal Crutchlow said his mistake five laps from the end of the German Grand Prix was the result of waiting too long to attack Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
The Briton spent much of the race tucked up right behind Dovizioso, with the pair often less than one tenth of a second apart.
With five laps to go the duo were fourth and fifth, with Yamaha's Ben Spies also joining the fray in sixth, when Crutchlow ran wide and through the gravel at Turn 1.
Though the slip ultimately cost him a shot at a maiden MotoGP podium - Dovizioso eventually finished third following Stoner's last-lap crash - Crutchlow said he could at least take heart from the pace he had demonstrated.
"My mistake was not passing Andrea earlier because I had the pace to be with Lorenzo. I was just waiting behind Andrea for the last five laps to size up an attack but unfortunately I ran off at the first corner," Crutchlow said.
"I'm pretty disappointed to be honest and I think we definitely deserved better. Once again though I have showed what I am capable of. Last year here was a disaster and I was 14th, but today I was fighting two seriously fast riders and I had the pace to beat them.
"I got the third fastest lap of the race too so we definitely have the speed to battling in the top five at every race."
Crutchlow said his disappointment at missing out on a potential podium was also eased by the manner in which it came - saying he would not have wanted to score his breakthrough rostrum at the expense of another rider.
"I'm sure I could have been fourth because the podium would have been a gift. I wouldn't have wanted my first podium in MotoGP to come just because another rider crashed out," he said.
"It was my mistake but I got back on track and was just as fast and recovered a couple of places, so it wasn't too bad in the end."
Dovizioso meanwhile said his third podium of 2012 was the result of a calculated ride in a tough race.
"Of course we have to consider ourselves a little bit fortunate today to finish third because of Casey's crash, but it proved how crucial it was for me to remain at the front of the battle with Cal and Ben for the whole race," he said.
"If I had let them overtake me then perhaps I would not have been third. I am happy because I rode an intelligent race today. I never pushed completely at the limit, especially during the first laps, as I knew from the past that I would probably pay for that tactic at the end of the race.
"My focus was to be consistent and I managed that and that was the key to this result."