Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista equalled his best MotoGP finish with fifth place at a rain-soaked Silverstone on Sunday.

After a good start, Bautista dropped back to his starting place of ninth as he struggled with visibility problems on the first lap.

The Spaniard, who broke his leg in practice for round one of the year, then passed Toni Elias, while accidents ahead helped move him up the order to fifth by lap 11 of 20.

With a few laps remaining he had settled in to a comfortable position and kept his GSV-R upright to bring it safely home in fifth place, matching his best finish of 2010.

"In the wet warm-up I felt very strong and had good feedback from the whole package, so I was feeling confident for this afternoon," said Bautista. "In the race it was important make a good start, I did that and I think I was maybe fifth or sixth, but it was difficult to see because I was splashed a lot by other riders and I couldn't see too much and had to drop back a bit.

"I tried to get into a good rhythm and as the race wore on I started to ride more comfortably. I saw that a couple of riders crashed due to all the water that was making it very difficult, but I just carried on and did my own thing. I had to have lots of feeling with the brakes and the gas because it was really very difficult conditions and towards the end I saw that Valentino was trying to catch me.

"I pushed a bit more and started to close on Nicky, but he responded and kept the gap, but by then I had increased on Valentino and I then just wanted to finish. Fifth is a good result and now I'm looking forward to getting to the next race and have the same level of confidence and feeling - if not even better!"

"?lvaro did a good job today, and so did the whole team to give him a bike to provide him with the confidence to push in today's horrendous conditions. He was careful on the first few laps, where it was so easy to make a mistake, as there was a lot more standing water than in the practice and this morning's warm-up," added team manager Paul Denning.

"Once he found his rhythm his pace and consistency were both excellent and he had the right balance between speed and an accident! It's been a tough start to the season, but now we are starting to see the potential that ?lvaro was showing before his accident and we are looking forward to the next race at Assen, where we are sure he will be even stronger."