Suzuki MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone has expressed his relief at putting an end to his poor run of results and securing a strong result in last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.
Iannone, who has endured a torrid time for much of his maiden season at Suzuki, finished fourth in a wet Motegi race, coming out on top in a late-race battle against rookie teammate Alex Rins.
The result marks the Italian's most competitive showing yet with the Hamamatsu brand, as his previous best aboard the GSX-RR was a seventh-place finish at Austin.
Iannone reckons the Motegi result was the "classic experience" he and Suzuki needed, and is convinced things will continue to improve from this point onwards.
"I'm glad we finally managed to get a pretty good result," said Iannone. "After a year of mistakes and struggles, we finally arrived. Let's say this is the classic experience we needed to have.
"Plus, Suzuki is working a lot so I'm convinced that we can make important steps forward. It was certainly a positive weekend because Alex [Rins] was also fast.
"It's great to be back in these positions, and most importantly, to be able to spend a good part of the race close to the leaders.
"Eventually, my rear tyre dropped off, but I managed to defend [my position] and take fourth.
"It's important we brought home a good result in Japan, me and Suzuki are both happy. We hope that Phillip Island can also be a good race for us."
"Perfect weekend" for Rins
Rins, whose rookie MotoGP campaign has been hampered by injury, secured his first top-five premier class finish despite dropping down to 15th after the start.
It only took him three laps to join Iannone in the top seven, and he even managed to pass and run ahead of his teammate for the majority of the race before dropping back behind him.
"It's been a perfect weekend, I enjoyed the race a lot," said Rins. "I was strong, but in the first corner I went a little wide and I was only 15th because a rider almost crashed and I had to avoid it.
"From there, I recovered to fifth. It took me some time to get past [Johann] Zarco. I lost time, but the important thing was the good rhythm that I had. The fight with Iannone was also good, you always learn things."
Rins also noted that the Suzuki "works much better" with the new "moustache" fairing introduced for Motegi.
"I'm surprised with the bike because they brought the new fairing and it works much better," said Rins.
Additional reporting by Jamie Klein