MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow claimed his best result of the season so far with seventh place in Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix.
Racing at Catalunya for the first time, the Englishman finished as the top satellite (bike) rider and claimed a 'big scalp' by catching and passing factory Ducati rider Nicky Hayden.
Crutchlow took the chequered flag seven-seconds in front of the 2006 world champion and is now fired-up for his home British Grand Prix, at Silverstone this weekend.
The #35 took a double win, from pole, in last year's Silverstone World Superbike round.
“That's my best result in MotoGP and of course I'm happy, but I'd rather have got a result like that in a more entertaining race," admitted Crutchlow, who qualified sixth on the grid. "It was just a test of concentration for most of the race once I'd passed Nicky and it was quite lonely.
"I caught him really quickly but once I got by I'd used up my rear tyre trying to chase him down because I struggled for grip after that. When the spots of rain came it was quite difficult. The white flags were being waved like there was a monsoon but there was only rain in the last three corners.
"Part of me was looking forward to having a flag-to-flag race because it might have given me a chance of fighting with the group at the front, but the rain never got worse than a few spots on the visor.
"I still managed to pull away from Nicky but I finished 26 seconds behind Casey, and that is not too bad considering I'd never seen this place before. If I hadn't backed off a little I'm sure I could have finished about 20 seconds back and that was good enough for the top six last year.
"Sixth to eighth position is where I'm at the moment but it is a good confidence boost as well to finish as the top non-factory rider. Nobody can ride this package harder than I am at the moment and now I'm looking forward to Silverstone. I'm sure the support is going to be incredible and I'm really looking forward to it."
Team manager Herve Poncharal agreed that the six riders in front of Crutchlow are a step ahead in terms of machinery.
"Seventh is a good result for Cal and the best we can hope for," said the Frenchman. "The six in front of him are on all factory machinery and I think even with a better start, it would have been a big ask for him to fight with Simoncelli.
"But to chase down Nicky on a factory bike, pass him and then pull away quite comfortably, is still a big scalp for Cal. It is easy to forget he is a rookie but seventh is his best result so far and it couldn't have come at a better time with his home race at Silverstone coming next weekend."
First practice for the British MotoGP takes place on Friday morning, when Crutchlow's team-mate Colin Edwards is hoping to return from a broken collarbone.