News 16 Aug 2011

Simoncelli thanks Gresini and Honda for podium patience

Marco Simoncelli scored a first podium result at Brno for Gresini Honda.

Marco Simoncelli scored a first podium result at Brno for Gresini Honda.

Gresini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli has thanked his team and supporters for sticking by him after scoring a long-awaited first premier class podium at Brno in the Czech Grand Prix last Sunday.

Simoncelli was understandably delighted with his first podium finish, less than a second down on Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso.

At one point in the closing stages it looked like he was stirring himself to attack the Repsol rider but he couldn’t quite make it.

Nevertheless third place had a very sweet taste for the former 250GP World Champion who had come so close on several occasions earlier this year, only to slide off or suffer another setback.

“I am really happy. I have been very strong this year but it has been tough because we have had some difficult situations to deal with,” the Italian said. “Me and the team have never lost our faith though and finally the result has come so I want to thank all of them, as well as Honda and anybody else who has maintained their belief in me.

“On the last lap today I just wanted it to be over and nothing bad to happen and thankfully it all worked out. I am really delighted. I didn’t make a great start and had to pass Valentino [Rossi], who fought back for three corners and I have the tyre marks on my leathers to prove it!

“It was a nice battle even though it was short. I tried to attack Dovizioso at the end but he was pushing hard and I decided to settle for the position because I knew [Jorge] Lorenzo was making up ground behind me.”

Simoncelli sits eighth in the world championship following a string of crashes during the early part of the season.