Simoncelli finally arrives on the podium
The 2011 Cardion ab Grand Prix České republiky was the site where Marco Simoncelli stepped onto the podium for the first time in the premier class.
Simoncelli had been denied the opportunity to celebrate a podium up on several occasions this season, but at the scene of Team Gresini's first podium back in 1998 and their 100th podium last year with Toni Elias - not to mention Fausto Gresini's second 125cc title - their wishes finally came true with Simoncelli’s third place finish. With any luck, it will be the first of many for the Italian, who broke his bad luck in somewhat unexpected fashion after a challenging weekend.
Marco Simoncelli: “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 team and I have never lost faith 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 didn't make a great start and had to pass Valentino, 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 Lorenzo was making up ground behind me.”
Hiroshi Aoyama: ”I am satisfied to have finished the race and to have finished it in ninth place. We had some grip problems but overall the bike was working well. I felt physically good and that means I can now look forward to the remaining races. I am also happy for Marco – it is a good day for the team and I want to congratulate them all.”
Fausto Gresini: “Finally, finally, finally we are on the podium! It was a tough race because our rivals were strong and we weren't sure that today would be the day to break our bad luck. Now I just hope this result gives Marco and the team the confidence to carry us through the rest of the season. Brno is a magical circuit for us and that proved to be the case again today. Hiroshi had a good race with a solid top ten finish and that will also be important for the races that are left.”