Ben Spies delivered the final piece of evidence to support his case for a 2009 MotoGP ride by finishing a career best sixth, on his third and final appearance for Rizla Suzuki at Sunday's weather-shortened Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Indianapolis marked the nearest Spies will get to a level playing field against the MotoGP regulars, the triple AMA Superbike champion's lack of prototype experience being partially balanced by his presence at July's two day Indy tyre test, something the regular riders were denied.
Spies made the most of the opportunity to qualify an excellent fifth in the dry, the best grid position by a wild-card since Troy Bayliss claimed second on the grid at Valencia 2006, but slipped back to seventh on the opening lap of Sunday's wet race.
The Texan overtook Repsol Honda's double 2008 race winner Dani Pedrosa on lap four and began threatening reigning world champion Casey Stoner, who was in turn putting pressure on fourth placed Andrea Dovizioso.
However, as the rain intensified, Spies began suffering vision problems but was still holding a close sixth - less than 1.5secs behind fourth placed Stoner - when the red flags were waved seven laps earlier than planned.
"I rode as hard as I could," Spies said. "We qualified fifth and finished sixth so it was a good weekend. I wish we could have been in the top five, but I can't be too upset because we did what we wanted to do."
Unconfirmed rumours later suggested that Ben's visor might not have been treated with rain repellent, causing his vision problems in the driving rain.
"Suzuki gave me fourth-place bike for sure," said Spies. "The first ten laps were good. The last ten laps, I couldn't see anything. I caught up to Dovizioso, and I tried to stay right on him so he could tow me around. I just followed everything he did. The race was over.
"I knew if I lost touch with him the next group behind would catch me because I literally could not see the apex of the turns or anything. Considering all that, I'm happy with my finish. It's a great result."