By Stephen English

Randy de Puniet struck an important blow in his bid to finish the season as the second CRT rider in the championship standings.

Taking advantage of Colin Edwards' jump start penalty, the Frenchman finished 12th in Sundays Malaysian MotoGP - cutting three points from the American's championship advantage.

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Afterwards de Puniet said that he had struggled with tyre wear throughout the grand prix and was also having to deal with ever increasing chatter problems.

"Like most of the CRT riders I choose the soft rear," said Aspar rider de Puniet. "The more that the tyre [grip] dropped the more I had front chatter and it was really difficult to manage. I had the back sliding out and the front bouncing up and down.

"Nevertheless, I pushed hard to stay upright and keep with Aoyama and Hernandez, but I made a mistake and I almost completely lost the front end. I tried to push and keep a good rhythm. I tried to manage it and finish the race so four points is not so bad."

With next weekend's Australian Grand Prix offering little respite for the MotoGP field the Frenchman is hoping for better results after a difficult weekend in the heat of Malaysia where the riders struggled for grip on a greasy track surface:

"After a difficult practice I hope Australia will be better. It's a track that I like and we were fast last year. I'm only five points behind Colin, the second CRT rider, and that is my target for the rest of the year we have three more races."

de Puniet's team-mate Aleix Espargaro was again the top CRT rider at Sepang, finishing in ninth place.