Alvaro Bautista has given his flagging MotoGP World Championship season a timely boost with a run to the top five for only the second time this season at Indianapolis.
The Spaniard has endured a troubled run of form since his career-best run to fourth at Silverstone in June, but showed glimpses of that form on the way to a hard fought fifth place at Indianapolis.
Crucially finishing ahead of fellow satellite Honda rider Bradl, Bautista would find himself just six seconds shy of the podiums, a vast improvement on Mugello and Laguna Seca when he finished 24secs and 43secs away from the rostrum.
“My target was to make a good start, and I did," the Gresini Honda rider said. "I overtook some riders and stayed in the podium group, but in the end I made a small mistake and lost some distance between myself and Stoner.
“It was not a bad result because in the last two races I had a lot of problem with the feeling for the bike, and I am still not 100 per cent with my feeling for the bike, so I cannot ride like I want.
“But this is a positive result, and it gives us a lot of confidence for the next races. The team is doing very good, and they are doing the maximum. We know that the limit is so high in the category, and it is difficult to stay with the front guys. But we will try in the next race to be closer to the front.”
Bautista's fifth place moves him from ninth to seventh in the overall standings, two points behind sixth place man Bradl.