Jorge Lorenzo wasn't the only high profile rider to struggle in Sunday's French MotoGP with Repsol Honda star Dani Pedrosa forced to settle for a subdued fifth.

While team-mate Marc Marquez recovered from tenth on lap one for a perfect fifth win of the season, a frustrated Pedrosa struggled for grip and took seven laps to improve on his ninth place starting position.

Pedrosa was still only seventh by the middle stages, before finally finding pace and picking off Jorge Lorenzo and Stefan Bradl. Pedrosa crossed the line within one-second of Alvaro Bautista and a podium place, with fellow Spaniard Pol Espargaro in between.

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Pedrosa's early grip problems were highlighted by setting his fastest race lap - just 0.120s slower than Marquez - on lap 20 of 28. The rest of the top ten set their best within the opening eight laps of the race.

"The race was not fun today," said Pedrosa. "I don't know why, but always in the last three races I have a lot of problems with grip in the front and rear.

"I started the race and some riders started to make some aggressive moves but I had absolutely no grip. I had to ride very slow. I couldn't push. Any time I tried to improve and push the front wheel was 'closing'.

"So it's really very hard to make any progress. I was at the back and waiting to get some grip, somehow. I could do a little progress at the end but not much."

Pedrosa, like Bradl, was racing for the first time since arm pump surgery, but insisted it was the lack of grip that caused the most physical strain.

"I was tired because when the bike is without grip you have to do a lot more energy and you waste more energy. Also it's not a good feeling when every race you cannot push 100%.

"You know you can go faster but you cannot do it. To ride like in the rain is not fun."

Pedrosa remains second in the world championship, but is now just two points ahead of Valentino Rossi.