Chris Vermeulen's first MotoGP race since 2009 may have ended without a world championship point, but the likeable Australian proved two important things.

Firstly, after two years effectively sidelined from WSBK by a serious knee injury, he was fit enough to last the full grand prix weekend.

Secondly, despite no prior testing on the Forward racing Suter-BMW, Vermeulen was in touch with the other CRT riders in the dry - and set the 15th fastest lap, out of 21 competitors, in the wet race.

Vermeulen was forced to dodge a fallen Randy de Puniet at the start, then pit for a helmet change on his way to 18th at an event he won, in similar weather conditions, for Suzuki in 2007.

"The race conditions today were very difficult," said Vermeulen. "For me it was a long time ago since I rode in the rain. And I think the bike and the team only have limited experience in these conditions.

"Early on it was raining a lot and was very cold, making it difficult to generate heat into the tyres and we struggled a lot. The more laps we did and as the track dried a little bit, it suited our setting a lot more and I was able to go reasonably fast.

"I was close to being as quick as any of the other CRT bikes during the race.

"I had to pit because I had some vision problems with my helmet. It was unfortunate that it happened, it really affected our race.

"But I was glad to be back racing in MotoGP and hopefully the information we gave to the team and Suter can help for the future."

Team crew chief Kornelis Veldeman revealed that a lack of wet weather experience had led to a set-up error for the race.

"We had some issues during the warm-up, we did solve most of it but made a mistake with the suspension," he said. "We made a small change in the suspension, which proved to be taking us in the wrong direction, making it difficult to get the heat in the tyre. The heat came in only after five laps, giving it temperature."

As well as adjusting to a 1000cc CRT machine, Vermeulen had spent much of the weekend evaluating electronic developments that the team had aimed to debut at the cancelled Estoril test.

"In the end we could say that this was a good test and we have now more data to work on for the next race," said Veldeman.

Vermeulen was replacing Colin Edwards, who aims to return from a broken collarbone at the forthcoming Catalunya round.

"A lot of work has been done in the development and test of the new electronics, as well as gathering of important data in wet conditions that will be useful for Colin," stated team owner Giovanni Cuzari.

"The only 'regret' is that this race could have ended in a better result given Chris Vermeulen?s improvement in lap times. I would like to thank Chris for joining the team this weekend and for helping us improve our CRT."

Vermeulen, a former World Supersport champion as well as WSBK and MotoGP race winner, is currently without a full-time 2012 ride.