Ben Spies may have finished one place short of repeating his Silverstone podium, at Assen on Saturday, but the MotoGP rookie did break new ground by running as high as second early in the race.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider made a blistering start from fourth on the grid to sit second behind factory Yamaha rider and dominant MotoGP World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.
Opting to use the softer compound Bridgestone rear tyre, Spies kept Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner in the opening laps before the pair - plus another factory rider, Andrea Dovizioso - all burst past on lap four.
The leading trio then pulled away, but Spies was able to stick with Dovizioso and re-passed the Repsol Honda rider on lap 16 of 24, then kept his pace to secure fourth at the flag by two-seconds from the Italian.
“I got a good start and was happy with that,” said Spies. “I ran the soft rear tyre because it made the front load better for turning and the track temperature was hotter than all weekend. But it didn't work as well I'd hoped in the first ten laps and then when Dani and Casey came by I knew I was holding them up. But I was sticking with my game plan.
“The podium battle had gone away and then over the last three laps I heard Andrea and Randy putting the pressure on. I put my head down hard and managed to open a gap. I was sliding a lot but I managed to stretch away and I could cruise the last lap.
“I wanted at least fourth place today and I'm happy but I didn't have the pace for the podium like in Silverstone. I'm happy with the result and we go to Catalunya next week not knowing the track and I think we will be a little bit on the back foot again. But I'll do the same as the past two weeks and push as hard as I can."
Team-mate Colin Edwards rode to eighth place as he seeks to find a set-up for his M1.
“I can't be disappointed or upset with eighth place and wonder why I didn't get a better result when I rode my heart out,” he said. “There was nothing else I could have done today but I know what we can improve. We've been experimenting with some different front-end settings and we've made it better, but I just lose a bit of time when I release the brakes and can't turn the bike how I want. And losing that little bit everywhere adds up by the end of the lap and makes it difficult.
“I know I rode harder than last year when I finished fourth, but I'm eighth. I guess that proves that those guys at the front are running an unbelievable pace. I was behind Nicky for a long time but I could never get close enough to put a pass on him. Looking at Ben it can be better and once again, I can't praise him enough. He's riding really good and I have to congratulate him because at the last two races he's been really impressive.”