Marco Melandri took his best result of the season with sixth place, and the top satellite rider, after a switch to Showa suspension at Le Mans.

The Italian had finished 13th and eighth in the opening rounds of the year, using - like the rest of grid - Ohlins suspension, but made a discreet switch back to Showa for round three.

Qualifying eleventh, Melandri got a good start to sit sixth at the end of lap one, where he remained at the chequered flag.

"I was pretty sure we'd have a better pace today than we did in practice and that proved to be the case. We made a small change in the warm-up based on an idea that the team came up with and it worked well," said the Italian.

"Unfortunately it was quite windy today and I struggled in a few corners where we didn't have a perfect setting for the engine braking. I'm happy though because we were able to match the speed of the front guys at the start until I made a small mistake when Hayden stepped up the pace.

"I tried to catch him again but I couldn't do it and decided that was a good time to `pull the oars in? and bring home an important result after such a tough start to the year. It was a good race for us and I'm happy for myself and the team," concluded Melandri, whose next event is his home Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

That will also be the first home MotoGP round for rookie team-mate Marco Simoncelli, who stuck with Ohlins for tenth place at Le Mans.

"I gave my maximum and wasn't too far off today but it was a tough race because I was struggling more with the bike than yesterday," said Simoncelli. "I'm a little disappointed that I allowed Barbera and Espargaro to pass me on the last couple of laps because it would have been nice to finish eighth but it didn't happen.

"It is important at this stage for me to finish races and I managed that today even though I wasn't as fast as I'd hoped so that's a positive thing. Now we'll assess things and try to do better at Mugello."

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