Michael Laverty was just one place outside the points after finishing 16th in the opening MotoGP race of the season in Qatar on Sunday evening.
The Paul Bird Motorsport rider from Toomebridge is starting his second season in MotoGP on a PBM Aprilia.
Laverty's team-mate Broc Parkes came in one place better, with the Australian securing a point in 15th.
World champion Marc Marquez won after a thrilling duel with Valentino Rossi, while Dani Pedrosa was third.
Marquez, racing just a month after breaking his leg. fought off a thrilling wheel-to-wheel challenge from nine-time champion Rossi to win by just 0.259 seconds.
Spanish rider Marquez, who broke his right leg in a dirt-bike accident at the end of February, came into the new season having become the youngest ever world champion in 2013.
Laverty finished his debut MotoGP season in 25th place overall, with a best result of 13th at Jerez.