Loris Baz equalled his best MotoGP result with a 17th to 4th ride in Sunday's wet Czech Republic Grand Prix.

The Frenchman - newly re-signed by Avintia Ducati despite a difficult, injury interrupted, season - was one of only three riders to fit the hard rain tyres front and year.

One of the others was race winner Cal Crutchlow, with Baz also benefitting as the drying track punished the soft wets used by most of the field.

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"I know from the past in Superbikes and also in Sachsenring that because I am much heavier than the others the soft compound doesn't work as well for me when there isn't much water on the track," Baz explained.

"The compound gets hot and I lose the front, so I was thinking of using the hard front and just before the race my crew chief said to use the hard rear too because it was really warm and it could be dry by the end of the race. You never know if it will rain again but this was a good choice!"

Baz passed his team-mate Hector Barbera to take fourth on the penultimate lap, with Marc Marquez and the final podium place just half-a-second away at the chequered flag.

"We lost a little bit too much time at the beginning and maybe the rear shock was too hard because I was losing a lot on the exit of corners. It took me two laps to overtake an Aprilia and Eugene so that's where I lost the time for third place, but this is still fantastic!

"Earlier in the race I was 13th so I thought 12th would be an OK result, but then I stopped looking at the pitboard for a few laps and when I looked next I was P6 and suddenly I thought that the podium was here and I need to push harder!"

"It was fantastic for the team with Hector in fifth but when I saw him I thought that I would only overtake if it was clear, but he was struggling with the rear grip at the end. It's also a great way to say thank you for my new contract.

"I would have liked to have been the first independent rider home but Cal was really on another pace. At the beginning he was slow but at the end he was really, really fast!"

Baz's fourth place more than doubles his previous points for the season.

"Big congratulations to Loris, I'm really happy for him, because he's a good rider and an even better person, and he needed this result," said Barbera.

"To be honest, the season started to turn really difficult for him. I always support him, I encourage him, but when you get inside a hole, the best way to get out is like he did, with a good result".

By Peter McLaren