Persistently at the bottom of the timesheets during pre-season testing, Yonny Hernandez and the Avintia Blusens team turned heads by reaching to 14th place - out of 18 finishers - on their MotoGP
debut in Qatar.
The only outfit to use a Kawasaki-powered CRT machine, the BQR-FTR bike looked set to struggle as it wallowed eight-seconds off the pace at the first of this year's tests, in Sepang.
By the conclusion of the third and final test, at Jerez, the Avintia riders - Hernandez and Ivan Silva - were still stuck at the bottom of the 21-rider time list, but had halved their disadvantage.
Former Moto2 rider Hernandez then made a significant step to be in the thick of the CRT action throughout the Qatar weekend, qualifying in 16th and rising as high as 13th early in the race.
Indeed, Hernandez was the top CRT rider for the opening laps of the race, until Colin Edwards
(Suter-BMW) moved ahead. Fellow MotoGP
podium finisher Randy de Puniet
(Aspar ART) moved past Hernandez at the halfway stage, but the Colombian remained comfortably clear of all the other CRT competitors.
"I am really happy,” he smiled. "We have done a great job throughout the weekend and I hope we´ll be able to keep it up.
"Electronics still needs to be improved if we want to be more competitive in the final laps but I am truly happy with the result and the way the team has worked.
"I would like to thank all the members as well as my parents who have always supported me so I could make it here. I am motivated and convinced we'll do better in Jerez."
"Sincerely I think we have done a great job and surprised more than one rival," said team manager Raul Romero. "Yonny gave a great performance during the race scoring points and finishing third among the CRTs. It's a great result."
Team-mate Silva finished just outside the points in 16th, ahead of ART riders Mattia Pasini (Speed Master) and James Ellison