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First podium for Tamada confirms massive MotoGP potential

First podium for Tamada confirms massive MotoGP potential

First podium for Tamada confirms massive MotoGP potential

After rubbing shoulders with Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau on a MotoGP World Championship podium for the first time on Saturday, Makoto Tamada rated the moment as the best of his sporting career. Despite having already taken wildcard triumphs at Sugo in the production-based World Superbike series, third place for Tamada with the Honda RC211V on Bridgestone tyres – the rubber manufacturer's first podium since returning to the premier class two years ago – was the crowning moment of his rookie season and ranked alongside any victory.

The 26 year old has made strides in his first year alongside the elite of motorcycle racing, and secured his place amongst the world's best when he overcame Max Biaggi in final stages of Saturday's race with a stirring charge at a circuit he had never before visited. It is not the first time Tamada has demonstrated his talents at unknown venues, having picked up fourth place at Jerez, sixth at Mugello and seventh at Catalunya in the first part of the year. In fact, the only tracks Tamada had seen before this season were Suzuka and Motegi, and with Bridgestone finally denting Michelin's dominance of the premier-class, his rivals will be prepared for another strong showing at the Gauloises Pacific Grand Prix of Motegi next weekend.

`That was a great race - I started off well and immediately tried to achieve a fast pace´, grinned the amiable Tamada after the race on Saturday. `I knew our potential and I just had to get up front to make the most of it. I delayed slowing down as long as possible and then worked really hard on the brakes. I put all my heart and all my determination into it. It's certainly true that in terms of quality and tyre performance we're getting better and better but we certainly mustn't sit back. We've got to carry on like this. I feel highly motivated and happy. Thank you Bridgestone! Thank you team!´.

MotoGP, 2003, Makoto Tamada

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