There was drama for Hiroshi Aoyama even before the start of Sunday's French MotoGP at Le Mans, when the Interwetten Honda rider needed a late tyre change.

The Japanese felt that there was a problem with his front Bridgestone tyre on the way to the grid and he took things easy for the first few laps while he scrubbed in the new rubber.

After that, Aoyama spent much of the race involved in a close battle for eighth, but made a mistake braking for the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane with five laps remaining, which forced him to take to the slip-road, dropping him to the back of the group.

Aoyama returned to the track to pass Colin Edwards with two laps remaining, securing him eleventh place and he took the flag just 1.2sec behind eighth placed Hector Barbera.

"We found a much better set up and I was able to stay with the other riders," said Hiro. "We were competitive today and I think we grew up. I think we take a lot with us after this race and I hope we can keep improving.

"Of course I am not really happy with the result as I lost two positions because of a small mistake I did. I could have been further in front. I was able to attack the eighth position, but I think that this target was too big and I had to step back again not to risk anything. I think we gave our best here and I will try that again in the next race," he added.

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