Eugene Laverty claimed the best wet weather result of his MotoGP career with sixth in Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix.

But the Aspar Ducati rider was left rueing what might have been, had he not lost ground on the opening lap.

Laverty chose the hard wet rear tyre, the same as first and second place riders Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi, but lost touch with the pair when a sideways moment left him 18th on the opening lap.

"There was huge disappointment when I rode across the line because the bike was good enough for the podium today and I'm upset to have made a mistake on lap one," Laverty said.

"Into Turn 3 at the start I lost four or five positions because I braked like in the warm-up [on the soft rear] but with the hard rear tyre I had no grip and it went sideways. I lost 4 or 5 positions and it was so hard to gain places.

"Track position was so important in those early laps because the guys I was racing were all on the softer rear and I'd be on their back wheel but then they'd slingshot out of corners. I could only really overtake when they started to go backwards [with tyre wear].

"I could see Cal and Rossi at the start and I was fairly sure that they were playing the long game too and I wanted to get with them so I could gauge the race from there. But the lap one mistake meant that I lost those positions and they started to disappear on me."

Laverty produced a remarkable comeback on the GP14.2 to reach sixth place on the penultimate lap. He went on to finish 3.5s from world championship leader Marc Marquez and the final podium place,

"I tried all I could in the last laps because I could see Marquez there, but I was angry with myself because the damage was done in those early laps. In the end, it wasn't about how many laps were left, more the mistake at the start which cost us the podium today.

"Let's pray for more rain at Silverstone so I can go after the podium again. In the warm-up I was fastest until one minute was left. When it's really wet, we can be strong."

Laverty also congratulated Crutchlow on his first MotoGP win: "It that was an impressive ride from Cal and it's great to see him win because it's been a while coming and in those conditions you have to use your head. I'm very happy for him."

Crutchlow's victory put him three points ahead of Laverty for tenth in the championship standings.

By Peter McLaren