Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista said his battling fourth place finish behind Valentino Rossi
at Laguna Seca is proof of his progress in MotoGP this season.
Bautista closed in on Factory Yamaha rider Rossi to mount a challenge for the final place on the rostrum in the final part of the race, narrowly losing out by a mere 0.059s at the line.
The Spanish rider, who qualified on the front row in third place, is now relishing the second part of the season after his confidence-boosting ride at the American circuit.
“I was so close to the podium! I would really liked to have been up there but we have to be happy with this result and especially for the way we achieved it,” he said.
“Obviously you can't get much closer than 0.059 seconds but the most important thing about today was that we showed we have taken a massive step forward and hopefully we can continue in the same way at the next race.
“This result gives us confidence after a less than positive period and it's a nice boost for the rest of the season,” added Bautista.
“I am also happy for the team, who have been working so hard and really deserved to celebrate a result like this today.”