Ben Spies said seventh place in his first MotoGP race for Yamaha was a better result than he had anticipated, even though he felt his inexperience with the control Bridgestone had cost him early on. The World Superbike champion dropped outside the top 10 at the start, having qualified ninth, before charging back to seventh.
"It was a little bit hectic in the first few laps and I just had to stick to my game plan," Spies told the BBC. "I felt good but I didn't want to do anything stupid with my lack of knowledge of these tires on the opening laps. "I felt kind of like a rookie for the first four or five laps, but as the race settled in, I was able to slowly get by some people and then set a good pace. I knew we were going to struggle for the first couple laps, but we did everything we could.
"It was a good weekend to start and was better than I thought it was going to be. The bike's still better than me right now, but I know that and I've got to keep making progress. Every lap this weekend we made some progress and I kept it upright."
By overtaking Honda's Andrea Dovizioso for seventh, Spies also ensured that his 2010 Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards could beat the Italian to fifth in the world championship.
"I didn't know if that was going to do it, but I remember them talking before the weekend about certain people getting in there," said Spies. "I thought, 'Man, that's Dovizioso right there', so I really put my head down and got ahead of him, and then Colin came and shook my hand. I was always going to do everything the same, but it's kind of cool that it worked out like that."
Edwards, who finished fourth in the race, said he had pushed flat-out to try and secure the points position so was grateful to his fellow Texan.
"I was pushing so hard in the beginning, and then toward the middle it started getting so slippery and I lost a bit of time. I thought, 'Screw it, I'll push, I'll crash, I'll do whatever I have to do to stay up where I am,'" he said. "And thank you Ben. I love Ben. He's not even my teammate yet, but I love him."