Valentino Rossi ended a crash strewn Indianapolis weekend in a lonely fourth place, the Italian declaring himself satisfied with his display in a physically and mentally demanding race.
Rossi suffered more than most as temperatures hit a punishing 35 degrees and humidity levels reached a weekend high during the 28-lap race.
The 31-year-old is still well short of full fitness as he fights back to 100 per cent following the broken right leg he suffered in Mugello in early June.
Rossi, who crashed three times prior to the race, ended the first lap in sixth position and he needed four laps to ease by Nicky Hayden’s factory Ducati for fifth.
Rossi then had to wait until lap 20 before he could produce another overtake on compatriot Andrea Dovizioso to claim fourth.
By that stage he was too far back to contemplate attacking Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to notch only his fourth rostrum of the season.
The nine-times world champion said: “During the race I had some good laps and I wasn't far from the other Yamahas. This is good for me because in Laguna Seca and Brno I was never as fast as the other Yamahas.
"Unfortunately, I have problem with my physical condition and in this heat it was very difficult. And at the end, I needed to give up because I didn't have any more strength or power.
"But I'm happy because we came back to our normal setting to the bike like I want it and I rode well considering I crashed three times.”
There was no denying though that Rossi had found nearly 48 minutes on track a gruelling mission and he said: “I suffered a lot. My physical condition has improved because I have less pain.
"But I have less strength throughout the race and I'm not at the maximum. There was a part of the race where I was competitive. But I didn't have enough power for the whole race. This is the main target to come back to getting a victory.”
Looking ahead to his home race in Misano this weekend where temperatures can soar into the high 30s, Rossi played down hopes of claiming a victory for the first time since he returned from injury at the Sachsenring in July.
He said: “Right now, I'm not fit to try to win.”