Eugene Laverty in fightback to make his point
Toome rider Eugene Laverty picked up his first MotoGP points of the season, after a battling display in the French round at Le Mans where Spain's Jorge Lorenzo made it back-to-back race wins with a dominant victory which keeps the pressure on championship leader Valentino Rossi.
Eugene was run wide in the second corner of the first lap but fought back from virtually last place to move up to a 14th place finish and open his MotoGP account for his Aspar Honda team.
He said afterwards: "The objective before the race was to score points and we have achieved that. The key was the good work by my mechanics once again this weekend.
"We have had a good setting for the past few races but this was a different kind of circuit and we found ourselves on the back foot on Friday.
"We had to make big changes to the front end of the bike and our work wasn't made easier by two crashes, which were down to a mistake with tyre choice.
"I made a good start to the race but in turn two, with all the traffic, I touched with another rider and ran off track. I lost a lot of ground there and found myself almost at the back.
"I thought it was going to be a complete disaster but pushed hard and tried to make up as much ground as I could. I set some consistent laps and managed to get in the points for the first time this season. I am happy with that and hopefully we can keep it up for the upcoming races."
Movistar Yamaha rider Lorenzo, who triumphed on home soil last time out, started from third on the grid but quickly bypassed Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) before opening up a big lead and cruising to a vital win.
It was Lorenzo's first podium at Le Mans since his 2012 success, a result which sees him move second in the standings and to within 15 points of Rossi, who came in 3.820 seconds behind his team-mate.
Dovizioso finished third ahead of two-time reigning MotoGP champion Marquez. Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha) came sixth after Cal Crutchlow (CWM-LCR Honda) and Scott Redding (Estrella Galicia) both crashed out.