Americans Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden ran off track almost simultaneously at the end of the back straight on lap two of Sunday's Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.

The incident dropped them both to the back of the 16-rider field. Future factory Yamaha rider Spies then rose back up to eighth for Tech 3 at the flag.

"Considering everything that happened this weekend with me not being totally happy with the bike and then running off early on, I'm extremely happy to finish eighth, especially coming from 15th," said Spies.

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"Going into turn five I think Loris [Capirossi] was in front of me and it seemed like he braked really, really early. To avoid hitting him I had to move over and get on the kerb and run off track.

"After my pace in the warm-up I was wondering how I would be able to fight with anybody but I made some passes and I never gave up. I rode as hard as I could and while it wasn't my best result it was still a really good race.

"Even coming through the field I was still turning some really fast laps that without the mistake would have given me a chance of running in the top five."

Factory Ducati rider Hayden, whose team-mate Casey Stoner won the race, could only recover to twelfth.

"Maybe I got a little too excited because I made a mistake into turn five on the second lap, got in there too hot and a few of us ran pretty deep," he said. "Spies went off in front of me and I followed him into the gravel. We touched coming back onto the track and then there was a big kerb that I had to avoid so I lost a lot of time there.

"Once I got into my rhythm the pace wasn't too bad and I passed a few guys but each pass took me longer than I would have liked because I didn't have much confidence on the brakes. By the end I could see ninth place and maybe with a couple of extra laps I could have made it but it wasn't to be today.

"I have to apologise to the team because I crashed on Friday which got us behind and even though they worked hard all weekend we haven't found the traction I needed to be competitive today. Luckily we don't have to wait too long to put it behind us in Malaysia."