Andrea Iannone is certain he could have won MotoGP's Italian Grand Prix for Ducati had he made a better start at Mugello.
Iannone was fastest in all three dry practice sessions for his home event and qualified a close second to Valentino Rossi.
But he plunged down the order off the line and could only recover to third, a position he earned after a last-lap battle with team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
"I'm very happy because it's very important for us, especially in this race, and the podium is always a good performance," said Iannone.
"But I had a very big disappointment at the start because it was very bad.
"After the first lap I was in 11th or 12th position and it was very, very difficult to recover the gap.
"After three or four laps I improved my pace step by step and I'm very happy with this because I showed a very good consistent pace and very fast pace for all the race.
"In the last lap I did my best lap of 1m46.6s.
"It's very important for us for the future.
"For sure today we had a very good possibility to fight for the victory. This is important for me."
Iannone was confident he was as fast as lead combatants Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez, though he admitted he could not predict how he would have fared in their wheel-to-wheel battle.
"Today I had a very good pace for fighting with Marc and Jorge," he said.
"I could win today, for sure.
"All the race my pace was very, very strong. But in the battle, I don't know [how I would have done]."
He put the poor start down to a general trend on his bike rather than a specific mechanical problem.
"In general this year in all the races my starts were very, very bad," said Iannone.
"I don't have a very good feeling with the clutch.
"We try to adjust this problem and change the setting in the clutch.
"My team worked a lot but for me it's always very difficult.
"This weekend I had a little bit more tranquility because all weekend I tried starts and it was very good.
"Not in the race, unfortunately."