Marco Melandri was confident he could hold off Toni Elias and claim his third top-six finish of the season in Sunday's German Grand Prix, but his hopes were undone by outside intervention.

Starting just 13th on the grid after a wet qualifying, the Hayate rider was up to eighth by lap 4 of 30, then gained further places from Colin Edwards and Andrea Dovizioso.

Elias had reached seventh on lap 20, but Melandri was confident he could keep the Gresini Honda rider at bay, until a badly timed bug strike.

"It's been a good race for me. I had a good start but I was on the outside and many riders went too long and pushed me out. I was also most last but I had a good rhythm and had some good battles," Melandri told the official MotoGP website.

"At the end, when I was in front of Elias, I saw he was having problems catching me. But I had used all the tear-offs for my helmet visor, because it was very dirty on track, and as soon as I took off the last one I got another bee on my visor. I couldn't see very well so I tried to clean it with my hand, but I made it worse

"I lost a bit of focus and Elias caught and passed me. I tried to pass him back because I was a little bit faster but I couldn't. It was a nice battle with him anyway," said the Italian, who finished just 0.449sec behind former team-mate Elias.

"I think our bike will work well at Donington so I can't wait for next weekend," Marco added.

Sixth in the championship standings, Melandri is favourite for the second 2010 Gresini seat, alongside Marco Simoncelli.