Jorge Lorenzo's Ducati adventure experienced yet more ups and downs on race day at Le Mans as he "saved a difficult situation" by claiming a top six finish from a lowly 16th starting spot.

A podium finisher the last time out, Lorenzo struggled to find similar speed in France around a track that he counts as one of his personal favourites, and at which Ducati has performed well in the past two seasons.

The reason behind this, he said, was fairly obvious. Poor weather on Friday and Saturday left him with just 65 minutes of dry track time [FP4, Q1 and warm-up] available before Sunday's 28-lap slog.

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"After Jerez, I was feeling curious to see how the bike reacts to this track, a positive track for Ducati in the last few years without the wings," he said "To be honest the setting that worked in Jerez didn't work here yesterday in dry conditions, we had too much wheelie.

"From today's warm-up we had to [lower] the bike to avoid wheelie and change the set-up. For this reason we needed much more time. Just 40 minutes of dry conditions was not enough for me to get into the maximum I could achieve with this track and this bike.

"We finished sixth with a constant pace, even if I finished 24 seconds from the top guys, we saved a difficult situation. I'm satisfied in general, but of course I want to be much faster."

Asked to judge his progress over the first five races, Lorenzo was typically forthright: "Difficult, in general very difficult. But I don't give up, I keep the right mentality, pushing the team.

"The team is working unbelievable, they know what I need and we are getting that. I'm getting more used to the bike, I'm playing more with the bike every time; we just need to improve one or two big points that for me are quite big to stay there with the top guys.

"We changed our lot our possibilities depending on the track, but in general we need something more to be more competitive during a whole race.

"For the moment, about my riding I just can adapt my riding to get the maximum with the bike we have. When we will try something new, that can improve our one or two big weak points.

"Then we can improve also the bike [specifically] for me and for Dovi. Until this happens, I can adapt my style as much as possible to get the maximum out of the bike we have."

Lorenzo and Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso will join factory test riders Casey Stoner and Michele Pirro for a test at Montmel? outside Barcelona to test some new parts before the factory's all-important home GP at Mugello.

"I had a will at this track [Le Mans] to do well and get another podium but after this difficult weekend... this was one of my favourite tracks, also for good for Ducati, but we weren't able to be suddenly competitive.

"We needed some more tenths to be on the podium. Mugello is another good track for me and Ducati, and our home grand prix, I have a lot of expectations and it's important to get a result.

"So let's see how these two days in Montmelo are, where we can improve, where we are going to focus. Our main problem is front grip in the middle of the corner - if we can solve that, we can make a big step forward."

By Neil Morrison

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