James Ellison was in danger of not even racing at Le Mans, but emerged from the wet French MotoGP with his first points of the year - and as the top CRT rider.

PBM UK boss Paul Bird had openly touted the idea of swapping Ellison for his BSB rider Shane Byrne at Le Mans, in order to get a second opinion on set-up for the team's ART machine, which Ellison had been suffering massive chatter problems with.

That didn't happen and instead some electronic assistance from Aprilia helped calm the bike, while 31-year-old Ellison and the PBM team did the rest.

After qualifying 16th out of the 21 riders in the dry, Ellison lost a place in the early laps, then progressed swiftly to 13th place, where he spent much of the race.

A late fall by Danilo Petrucci and a pass on fellow ART rider Mattia Pasini handed Ellison eleventh at the line.

"The team boss Paul Bird was here this weekend and thankfully we put on a good show for him," said Ellison. "We think we have found a setting that works in the wet or dry.

"It was a tough race and I'm just glad to get one for the team and I'd just like to say thanks to all my sponsors who have supported me and to the team who have done a fantastic job.

"I'm really looking forward to the next round and hope we can build on this result."

Ellison set the eleventh fastest race lap - again the best by a CRT rider - and was quicker than the fastest lap time by prototype riders Alvaro Bautista (Honda) and Karel Abraham (Ducati).

Team owner Paul Bird was delighted to with Ellison's performance.

"James rode a brilliant race," said Bird.

"The team has worked so hard and this is just what they deserved. I never thought we'd be sharing the parc ferme [as the top CRT rider] with the likes of Lorenzo, Stoner and Rossi but it just goes to show what can be achieved.

"We needed to sit down and work out a plan after Estoril, which we did, and it has worked so we now are all looking forward to Catalunya."

The result was Ellison best in MotoGP since a ninth place at Catalunya in 2006.

Cardion AB's Karel Abraham is now the only 2012 MotoGP rider yet to score a point.


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