Stefan Bradl says he had to push himself to the maximum in order to hang on to fifth at his home MotoGP round in Germany.
The LCR Honda rider came under almost relentless pressure during the race, first from the two works Ducati riders and Hector Barbera's satellite Pramac equivalent and then later additionally from Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista and Tech 3 Yamaha's recovering Cal Crutchlow.
A six-way fight for fifth built to a thrilling crescendo over the final two laps, but despite the intense pressure Bradl managed to resist and cross the line in fifth, less than 0.2 second ahead of Valentino Rossi in sixth. Nicky Hayden in 10th was just one second down the road.
"It has been a tough race since the beginning because I had to fight to maintain the gap to the group behind me," Bradl said. "I had to manage the group behind me till the chequered flag and it was very difficult. So I had to push myself to the maximum to block Rossi, Hayden and Barbera in the last three laps.
"I am very happy about this result because I could relegate them behind me and this fifth place is a fantastic result for me, for my family, for the team and for my local fans."
Bradl said his defensive stance was the result of tire struggles after the opening three laps of the race.
"I took another good start and this is very positive. After that I was capable to follow the Yamaha riders for a while but I could feel that our corner speed was not enough," he said. "Our edge grip in the left side was poor because after three or four laps the bike started to [wheel]spin already. That caused me some issues because I was not able to attack."