Randy de Puniet suffered an unusual problem during Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix, when his boot almost came off at the very first turn!

Having used the 'autumn break' since Misano to regain much needed strength in his fractured ankle, de Puniet qualified an strong sixth on the grid - as the leading satellite Honda rider.

The Frenchman was expecting at least a top eight finish from the race - but the boot problem, and then a painful near highside, left him a frustrated eleventh at the chequered flag.

"I am speechless! We could easily have finished in the top eight today but bad luck picked on me," said Randy, who took a podium finish at Donington Park, just before his ankle injury on a motocross bike.

"I caught my right foot in the fairing at the very first corner which unzipped the boot. I couldn't ride with the boot open, so I tried to close it for a couple of laps, losing valuable positions.

"Then I pushed hard to overtake Vermeulen but I had a big highside moment which knocked my injured left ankle against the fairing," he revealed. "The last four laps were a bit painful. This result is not what we expected considering the good rhythm we had during practice and qualifying."

Despite the disappointing result, de Puniet holds eighth in the world championship with three rounds to go and is the top satellite RCV rider.

Since making his premier-class debut in 2006, Randy's best end-of-season MotoGP ranking is eleventh, for Kawasaki, in 2007.