Petronas Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo says his "incredible" race pace was in part due to learning from his front-running rivals in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Quartararo, 20, qualified on pole position for the Jerez race - becoming the youngest rider to do so, beating the previous record held by Marc Marquez - but fell back almost immediately at the start on his privateer Yamaha bike.
Marquez grabbed the lead at the start on his way to an easy win, but Quartararo was able to re-pass fast-starting team-mate Franco Morbidelli to take second.
But just three laps later, and having put distance between himself and Morbidelli, Quartararo slowed and retired due to a suspected gearbox issue.
Quartararo finished 10th in Moto2 last year and has placed 16th, eighth and seventh in the three races prior to Jerez, including setting the fastest lap in the Qatar season opener.
"I did not expect [to be this strong], also the pole of yesterday I did not expect," said Quartararo.
"The pace I had in the race was incredible because I found something, riding with these guys. Also I had Marquez [for] a reference.
"The pace was fast. When you are riding with these guys on the first laps I learned many things, I was acting on the bike like I have more experience [than I do], only that is my fourth race.
"I take a lot of experience. Unfortunately we didn't finish the race but we need to take all the positives and leave the negatives here.
"I was really disappointed because we can challenge for really good position.
"Fortunately when you look at the pace I had, we weekend we do, I only can be happy at the moment.
"No podiums, no top five but the experience we take is a lot."
Morbidelli fell down the order shortly after Quartararo's retirement, as Suzuki's Alex Rins and works Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales joined Marquez on the podium.
Morbidelli eventually classified seventh, having also been relegated by compatriots Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Valentino Rossi.