Cal Crutchlow concluded his first ever MotoGP race positively by making a last-lap pass on Hector Barbera for eleventh at Qatar on Sunday night.
It wasn't quite the top ten finish that the Englishman had been hoping for, especially after turning heads with eighth place - in front of MotoGP megastar Valentino Rossi and his own Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards - during qualifying.
But with the seven factory riders that started the race (eight if you count Gresini's Marco Simoncelli) all finishing, and given his nasty finger injury from last Monday's test, Crutchlow couldn't be too hard on himself.
“I'm pretty happy with that [although] honestly I'd have liked to have got a top ten after how well qualifying went,” said Cal. “I couldn't keep up with the group that included Nicky [Hayden] and Aoyama because it was tough to pass Barbera.
“They passed Barbera and I then overtook him to chase them, but he got me back immediately and let them get away because his pace dropped off quite a bit. But he's got a fast bike and that makes it hard to make a pass and stay in front of him.
“I was happy to be in the fight for the top ten for as long as I was and the experience gained is invaluable to help me progress in MotoGP. I wanted to finish and get a race under my belt, so it was mission accomplished.
“The next couple of races will be tough because I don't know the circuits but I'll be doing my best for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad."
Team manager Herve Poncharal praised Crutchlow's performance.
“I am very pleased with Cal. We didn't know what to expect because of his inexperience and the finger he damaged in the test was a bad injury. But he was able to battle with Aoyama and Hayden, who are world champions,” said the Frenchman.
“It was a good pass on Barbera too, who has a lot more experience than him and that result that will give him more confidence for the next race. In Jerez his finger will be a lot better and I'm sure he can learn the track quickly, so we are looking for another positive result."