?lvaro Bautista's best MotoGP qualifying of eighth counted for little when the Rizla Suzuki rider dropped to tenth after a cautious opening lap in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix.

The Spaniard, wary of the rain spots, then gained one place when Nicky Hayden crashed out and passed another American, Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards, at the midway stage of the race.

But the remaining riders were already too far ahead and Bautista - riding in a special chrome livery - finished seven-seconds behind Valentino Rossi (Ducati).

"Maybe this was not the result we expected after qualifying, but I didn't have a lot of confidence on the first lap because it was raining a little bit and I didn't feel like I could push too much - so I lost some positions and distance from the group," explained Bautista.

"When I got into my rhythm the group was far away and I couldn't follow them. Eighth position is not a bad result but we expected more this weekend."

Team manager Paul Denning felt Bautista had the capability to join the Simoncelli/Dovizioso/Spies fight for fourth.

"A couple of months ago we would have been happy with eighth place, but our performance level has increased and today we are a little disappointed with the result," Denning began.

"If the conditions had been the same as yesterday afternoon, when the track was 10 degrees warmer I think, there was a chance we could have competed for fourth place, but as it was we were so far behind after a couple of laps that to achieve the real potential was impossible."

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