On a day when four MotoGP regulars crashed, and another retired with technical problems, LCR Honda stand-in Roger Lee Hayden brought his RCV home in eleventh after winning a private battle with Alex de Angelis.
Hayden, riding in his first MotoGP race since the 2007 US GP, had qualified 17th and last, but overtook the Interwetten Honda of de Angelis on the penultimate lap.
“This was a very good race for me!" said Hayden, who usually rides a Kawasaki in WSBK. "After the start I got boxed in at the first corner and after that it took me a few laps to find my pace. The rest of the guys had taken a few seconds on me but I started to pull them back in and I did my fastest lap of the whole weekend in doing so.
"I charged hard and caught de Angelis with 2 laps to go. I passed him and took eleventh place.
"At the start of the week I really did not think I could have taken eleventh. I really, really want to thank LCR Team for this fantastic opportunity. Everybody in the Team has bent over backwards to help me in every way. The guys worked really hard on the bike and made it very comfortable for me to ride.
"They put absolutely no pressure on me this weekend for a result but this is the American GP and all my friends, family and fans are here so I wanted to give them all a good result. I would love a chance to ride for this team again as they are a fantastic bunch of guys and the machine they gave me was perfect," he added.
Randy de Puniet, who broke his leg a week ago in Germany, hopes to be back on his bike for the forthcoming Brno round.
“First I want to wish Randy a very quick recovery and want to thank the team for their great work this weekend," said team manager Lucio Cecchinello. "Despite the bad luck we have decided to come here and do our best as always.
"We are pleased with Roger's today result because he improved his feeling on the bike session by session and during the race he was focused and tough, especially when he passed de Angelis with two laps to go.
"Now we aim to have Randy back in Brno but we must wait for the response of the Medical Commission first”.
The Brno round will be held from August 13-15.