Jorge Lorenzo saw his hopes of extending his 100 per cent podium record in the 2010 MotoGP world championship ended in late drama at the Motorland Aragon circuit.
The Fiat Yamaha rider briefly led the 23-lap race on the opening lap before he was powerless to prevent a fast starting Casey Stoner from surging into the lead.
Unable to match Stoner’s impressive pace, Lorenzo was then relegated to third when Dani Pedrosa swept by on lap three.
But having never been out of the three as he looked on course to register his 13th rostrum of the campaign, Lorenzo was passed by Nicky Hayden’s factory Ducati on the final lap.
Hayden’s bold clinical move at the final chicane cost Lorenzo another three-points as he saw his title lead reduced to 56-points with Pedrosa finishing second.
But the 23-year-old has now gone four races without a win and he never looked like seriously challenging for his first success since the Brno round in mid-August.
The double world 250GP champion blamed a lack of top speed with his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 but a rear grip issue also slowed him.
A dismayed Lorenzo, who stormed out of his pit box at the end of the race, said: “My start was very good, but during the race I struggled a lot with Nicky always behind me and very close.
"We can't be happy with the result and I am disappointed to finish my podium run, but the most important thing is that we did finish and we still took points for our championship.
"We have five more races to go and, although this is a complicated moment for us and we have some things to address, I am confident that we can improve again.”
Asked what he thought about Hayden’s late move he added: "What he did is allowed. For sure it is not the best podium he will have in his career because he was always a little bit taking profit of my pace.
"But Race Direction can’t say to Nicky not to do that. If I close the door more maybe he will try anyway and maybe we crash. For me it was okay to take fourth. I didn’t want to take so many risks to close the door on him and risk crashing."