Ben Spies drew a line under his disappointing start to the 2011 season by claiming his first Factory Yamaha podium in Sunday's Catalan MotoGP.

The 2010 rookie of the year, who took Valentino Rossi's vacant ride alongside Jorge Lorenzo, had suffered two DNFs and a best finish of sixth from the first four races of 2011.

That left the former World Superbike champion just 12th in the world championship, but he was on the pace all weekend in Catalunya - and held third place, behind Casey Stoner and Lorenzo, from the first to last lap of the race.

"This was a really important race. We needed to be there," said Spies. "We've just had some bad luck at the beginning of the season and this weekend was good. We didn't have any great luck, but just nothing went wrong.

"I made a really good start and just tried to hold the pace. We tried a big change before the race to the bike, on a set of forks I haven't run this weekend, so it took me a couple of laps to get used to.

"After that I just settled into a pace. Dovizioso was there the whole race so I had to keep pushing and pushing.

"It was just great at the end of the race to be able to see the two people in front of me on the straightaway. I was really happy with that. I've just gotta thank everybody and hopefully we can keep this going."

Spies, who is now seventh in the championship, returns to the scene of his first MotoGP podium this weekend at Silverstone.

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