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.”