LCR Honda team manager Lucio Checchinello insists that top independent honours are the aim for the team in the 2010 MotoGP season.

The team saw Randy de Puniet finish eleventh in the standings this season after a campaign which included a podium finish at Donington Park.

That result saw the Frenchman climb to eighth in the standings before an accident while training on a motocross bike saw him sustain a fracture in his ankle.

Although he battled through to the end of the year after having screws inserted into the injured ankle, de Puniet slipped down to eleventh in the standings by the season end - albeit just nine points away from seventh place - and Cecchinello said he was hopeful of an improved showing in the championship next year.

"We are quite happy with the results, because we definitely improved," he told MotoGP.com. "We had a good chance to put in good performances, especially when we made the podium in the British GP, so we are quite happy.

"This year we had the chance to finish, let's say, as the best independent team in the rankings. We had a couple of crashes and Randy broke his ankle in August so we didn't achieve our objective. Definitely next year we would like to be the first independent team in the ranking."

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