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Champion Simoncelli reviews special 2008 season

Champion Simoncelli reviews special 2008 season

An in-depth interview with the 2008 250cc World Champion, Marco Simoncelli, at the end of a sensational year for the happy Italian youngster.

A stunning turn around in form, after never previously winning a 250cc class race, saw Italy´s Marco Simoncelli set the World Championship alight with some daring performances, sensational race victories and a contagious enthusiasm in 2008.

Describing the incredible upturn in results which took him to title glory, the man himself comments, `It was a special season because at the beginning, you would have to admit that I had suffered two difficult years in 250cc. In 2006 I got an official bike, but in 2007 they took it off me and that´s why I had two tough seasons. At the beginning of the 2008 season I started riding with a Gilera LE that was not the official bike, but it was good. I found a good set up during the winter and I was able to go fast from the beginning of the championship and get some podiums.´

`Half way through the season Gilera gave me the official bike and the second part of the season was easier. So it has been wonderful, the year was very good and to do this after two difficult years is even better.´

His championship winning campaign saw the 21 year-old achieve seven pole positions, six race victories and twelve podium finishes in total, having endured two years of 250cc activity without a single rostrum appearance - following his promotion to the quarter litre class at the end of 2005, when he finished fifth in the 125cc class.

Describing the testing 2006 and 2007 seasons, Simoncelli stated, `The motivation is always high but when the results don´t arrive it is more difficult. But it is in these moments when you need to believe in yourself and work even better with your team. In fact in moments like this we joined together and it gave us more strength. After getting through a bad time everything is better now.´

The man from Cattolica near Misano eventually wrapped up the title in Malaysia with a third place finish, but admits that his nerves were on edge ahead of the race at Sepang.

`To be honest I was nervous on the grid,´ he revealed. `During the race I was trying to avoid any mistake and trying to do my best. In the first part of the race I was trying to win, but after a few laps I took some risks, maybe I risked too much and I nearly crashed so I thought, `today the best thing is to finish third´.´

`After crossing the line, I stopped by the pit wall and I wanted to congratulate my team. The tension was just over, but I was very hot and I didn´t feel too good. My head was spinning and I thought I would faint. So I didn´t really know what my feeling was at that moment. It sank in later.´

Simoncelli´s day in the sun brought a typically big smile to the face of another 2008 World Champion, Valentino Rossi, a keen follower of the action in the smaller classes and a close personal acquaintance of the new Metis Gilera 250cc title winner.

`I am friends with Vale (Rossi). Sometimes we train at motocross together and we review the races at home,´ Simoncelli said. `I ask him for some advice and when he gives it to me of course I pay very close attention!´

Although he has ambitions to eventually join Rossi in the premier class, next season Simoncelli will remain in the 250cc category and he is excited about the challenge which lies ahead. He concluded, `This year was so complicated to win. Everybody says it is difficult to win, but it is even more difficult to retain the title, so I know it´s going to be a hard year. But I will do my best to have another season like this and try to win the title again in 2009.´

Tags:
250cc, 2008, Marco Simoncelli, Metis Gilera

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