By Stephen English

Having been off the pace for much of the Misano MotoGP weekend, a sixth place finish marked a strong performance by Cal Crutchlow who dug deep in qualifying to start on the second row and then battled throughout the race with Stefan Bradl.

Ultimately Crutchlow was overtaken by the Honda LCR rider on the last lap, but having ridden mistake free for the 28 lap race distance the Englishman was happy with his efforts.

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"After this weekend where I was twelfth in practice, tenth in practice and useless - with Bautista, Dovi and Hayden all faster than us - we finished the race way ahead of them," said the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider. "I'm happy to finish the race and happy to finish sixth.

"Obviously I wanted to be battling at the front but it wasn't possible all weekend. It wasn't possible for Valentino either, he had better pace than me but not enough. Lorenzo is on another planet and I can't even look at his result today. I have to look at our result and it's a long way better than Silverstone and better than what we've had all weekend and I felt fine riding the bike in the race.

"I got dropped by the first group straight away, but I was happy with my rhythm and the lap times that I was doing for the whole race. I was consistently doing a lap time that was one of my fastest times from practice and I was able to do it all day.

"I never made any mistakes even with a guy behind me the whole race. I didn't really do anything wrong, I didn't do too much right either, but I think that we can take a lot of positives from today. I'm more confident today than I was on Friday evening."

Even with the positives, Crutchlow made it clear that the team are still far from where they want to be:

"I am still 22 seconds from the win and at the start of the year we were a lot closer. I knew this would be a difficult and so will Aragon. I feel that I rode well [today] and for race craft and technique it was probably one of my best races."

Crutchlow, who will join the Factory Ducati team next season, remains fifth in the world championship and the leading satellite team rider, with an advantage of 22 points over Bradl with five rounds to go.

Unlike factory Yamaha riders, Crutchlow and team-mate Bradley Smith do not have the new seamless shift gearbox.