Dani Pedrosa said he was relieved not to crash out of the United States Grand Prix after making it home for a third-place finish at Laguna Seca.
Having joined Honda team-mate Casey Stoner and Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo in a three-way lead fight at first, Pedrosa ultimately fell seven seconds away and had to settle for the final step on the podium.
"In the beginning I was comfortable in the group," said Pedrosa. "Then Casey got by me and I was not worried.
"I don't remember exactly when it was, but I had a big moment. I lost the rear and almost crashed. I lost a lot of ground.
"I tried to get it back and two or three times I almost lost the front and was almost on the floor. I was lucky not to crash and that I finished the race.
"I didn't want to give up and I kept pushing with all I had, but today it wasn't enough and this was what I could get."
The Spaniard said he had not been comfortable with any of the Laguna tyre options. He ultimately ran a hard compound on the rear, unlike his victorious team-mate Stoner.
"It was a strange race," said Pedrosa. "I was not happy with any of the tyres. The soft was too soft and the hard had no grip. I chose the one I felt better with and I was quite confident about my choice."
Pedrosa remains second in the MotoGP championship, 23 points behind Lorenzo.