Andrea Dovizioso came within two laps of claiming his first Ducati podium at a wet Le Mans on Sunday, having also led for significant periods of the race.
The Italian exchanged the lead several times with eventual winner Dani Pedrosa during the first 14 laps.
The second half of the race however saw the track start to dry and ultimately when there was less water to cool the tyres, the Ducati rider struggled to maintain the pace. But it was still a morale boosting performance.
"I'm so happy with the race. To stay in front of everybody is always a good feeling and to stay in front for half the race in first was really good,” said Dovizioso.
“Unfortunately the water did not stay enough for the race and I used too much rear tyre and then too much front.
“I couldn't keep 1'45 so I lost the podium. We have to be happy with how we were in the wet and with more water we can be more competitive again."
The other frontrunners all commented that the Ducati had terrific traction exiting the corner.
"We thought in the wet we have one really positive point with the traction,” confirmed Dovizioso. “At the beginning it was difficult to get the feeling with the amount of water - and at the beginning the feeling wasn't good - but it was better than the other riders."