Ben Bostrom's first MotoGP race ended after eight laps on Sunday at Laguna Seca – but not before he set a best race lap faster than regular LCR Honda rider Toni Elias.
37-year-old Bostrom was riding Elias's spare RC212V and, having never ridden an MotoGP bike before Friday practice, spent much of the weekend just over four-seconds off the pace.
Starting 17th and last, home star Bostrom moved ahead of Elias on lap 2 and set his best lap of the race next time around - when he set a time just 2.4sec behind the eventual best race lap of winner Casey Stoner!
But suddenly knocking 1.2sec off his qualifying time wasn't without consequences and, after running off track twice due to his foot hitting the ground, Bostrom elected to retire - rather than crash - at the end of lap 8.
“I got a good start and immediately felt very comfortable on the bike," recalled Bostrom. "I improved my lap time by one second, which I was very optimistic about so early in the race.
"But as I was riding so much faster I started having problems in the first corner when I shifted down, because my foot was hitting the ground, and after few laps I made a mistake and went off into the gravel.
"It took me 30 seconds to rejoin the race and I wanted to continue, but the next lap I had the same problem. So I have decided to enter the pits even though the bike was fantastic.
"Honestly I was thinking about my [Superbike] race and didn't want to crash this bike. Once again I want to thank MJM, Lucio and all the guys here: it was an incredible experience for me!”
Bostrom went on to finish fifth in the AMA Superbike race for Michael Jordan Motorsports.
After Bostrom's exit Elias, who ran off track on lap one, remained at the tail of the field and finished 13th and last. The Spaniard's best race lap was 0.109sec slower than Bostrom.
“As always I got a good start but on this track you get stuck if you start from the last row so I pushed but in the first corner I went a bit wide. I was 12th when I suddenly lost the front running off into the gravel," explained the Moto2 champion.
"I rejoined but for the rest of the race I felt like I was lapping on a frozen surface. We have finished the race in 13th position but the situation is still very tough for us”.