James Toseland equalled his MotoGP best of sixth for the ninth time at Indianapolis on Sunday, after a long battle with Marco Melandri ended in the Italian falling with three laps to go.

Starting tenth on the grid, Toseland caught up to Melandri on lap 4 and the pair exchanging positions several times for what became sixth place after Valentino Rossi's exit.

Toseland frustrated Melandri from lap 10 onwards, until Melandri lost control of his Hayate on lap 26 of 28 laps.

"It's very pleasing to finish in the top six, I know I'm capable of these sort of results and need to be doing it very weekend," said the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider. "It was an entertaining race for me, pushing my way through from tenth on the opening lap and today I don't think I lost any friends doing that.

"Later in the race I had a great battle with Marco Melandri until he made a mistake with two laps go, I thought it would be a fight right to the end with him. I didn't have good feeling in the warm-up so I was little worried for the race but we softened the bike up a little and I was able to keep my pace from qualifying.

"Melandri was really strong in turns one and two but I just kept covering my line, kept my head down and kept pushing. Now I'm really looking forward to Misano next week, a track I know very well from superbikes."

Melandri meanwhile was irritated by his mistake.

"I was slightly better than Toseland in the braking, but he was driving so much more than me to go off in the corner," said Marco. "I tried to pass him, but he passed me back all the time. I tried to pass him for the last two laps, but I made a stupid, small mistake. I was braking hard in the race, so my front tyre was gone. I lost the front; that's going to happen."