Toni Elias finished an impressive fourth on his Fortuna Honda debut in Sunday's season opening Spanish Grand Prix, but might have achieved his first MotoGP podium if he hadn't collided with world champion Valentino Rossi.
Elias missed his braking point as several riders fought for the same piece of tarmac at turn one, resulting in the young Spaniard hitting the rear wheel of Rossi's Camel Yamaha.
The impact threw Rossi from his YZR-M1 (lower pics), while Elias ran wide before producing a remarkable recovery that eventually saw him catch and pass race winning team-mate Marco Melandri for fourth - then get to within 0.1secs of Nicky Hayden and a MotoGP podium.
By contrast, a frustrated Rossi eventually remounted almost a minute down on the rest of the field and went on to finish a distant 14th. Elias later apologised to the Italian on the slow down lap
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"It was a really tough race, but one of the best of my life," began Toni. "I feel sorry for Valentino, but it was a really close start and we all reached the end of the straight bunched together. I was right next to Shinya Nakano and when I tried to avoid him I clipped Valentino. I went to apologise to him after the race although these things do happen in racing.
"After that I managed to find a good rhythm and was able to fight back. It was a real shame that after all that effort I could not get on to the podium, but I'm still really happy. I think the spectators really enjoyed it, but I want to thank them for being the best fans in the world," said Elias of his home crowd.