Randy de Puniet began the Catalan Grand Prix with his position as the top satellite rider coming under pressure from Ben Spies, who had beaten de Puniet at the previous two rounds.

But a 'fantastic' season's best fourth on Sunday has now pushed the Frenchman ten points clear of the American.

de Puniet was riding in Catalunya with 'a new chassis and forks, supplied by Honda in recognition of his recent results'.

Qualifying on the front row for the third race in succession, de Puniet bucked the trend of the leading riders by opting for the harder Bridgestone rear, hoping it would give him an advantage over the second half of the race.

Recovering well from a poor start, de Puniet moved into a solitary fourth on the 15th lap - when Andrea Dovizioso crashed - and brought his LCR Honda safely home, but the hard tyre didn't provide any real advantage.

"We have decided to go with the harder tyre and I struggled a bit with rear edge-grip in the beginning. I took a bad start from the front row but immediately push to catch the three riders in the front and after that my race pace was exactly what we were expecting," recalled Randy.

"So I took the fourth position and decided to keep my rhythm till the end, as I could easily control the gap to the other riders. Simoncelli tried to catch me but he made a mistake and crashed out.

"I knew I could get my best result of the season here and this fourth place is simply fantastic for me and the guys."

de Puniet is now joint-fourth on points with factory Ducati rider Nicky Hayden, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Spies in eighth place after finishing sixth in Catalunya.

"We now hold fifth place in the world classification as the best private rider and we will keep on working in this direction," said de Puniet.

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