By Neil Morrison

Alvaro Bautista overcame two falls and a poor start to equal his best performance of the season at the Japanese round of the MotoGP Championship.

Riding at a circuit where he claimed his second podium in the MotoGP class in 2012, the 28-year old made steady progress through the top ten after starting from ninth position.

He hastily disposed of both Tech 3 Yamahas and Stefan Bradl's LCR Honda within the first ten laps to take fourth place, which he held to the flag.

Bautista went into the race on the back of two crashes, the first at the fast S-Curve on Saturday afternoon, the second on Sunday morning at the low speed hairpin at turn ten.

"After such a strange weekend with everything that has happened and the two crashes the race was more than positive. I felt comfortable with the bike this morning but the crash definitely didn't help and the start wasn't perfect either," he said.

Like all of the prototype riders, the Spaniard chose the medium front tyre for the 24-lap race but admitted soon afterwards that he hadn't tried the tyre before the race.

"I hadn't done a single lap with the front tyre so I wasn't sure how it would feel or how hard I could push it, but I built my rhythm up, made some passes and picked up a solid fourth place that could perhaps have been something more if we'd had a better start.

"Anyway, it is a good finish to a chaotic weekend and that is the most important thing. We have consolidated sixth place in the championship and now we need to keep working to take the next step with Showa, Nissin and Honda."

The result solidifies Bautista's hold on sixth in the championship, 14 points ahead of Stefan Bradl.


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