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Self focus for Simoncelli as title defence goes to the wire

Self focus for Simoncelli as title defence goes to the wire

Marco Simoncelli is maintaining a focus on his own form rather than that of title rival Hiroshi Aoyama, despite moving to within 12 points of the Scot Honda rider in the 250cc World Championship standings.

Marco Simoncelli’s failure to score points in the opening two rounds of the 2009 season has done little to stunt the Italian’s chances of defending his crown, just as it failed to hamper him in his title-winning campaign of 2008.

The Metis Gilera rider won the red-flagged race at Phillip Island over the weekend, cutting Hiroshi Aoyama’s lead at the summit of the standings to 12 points with two races of the campaign remaining.

Having missed the season-opener in Qatar through injury and then finishing 17th in Japan, Simoncelli has gone on to win six races this year. That has equalled the number of wins the 22 year-old accumulated in his title-winning year of 2008.

“It’s the sixth win of the year for me and the second in a row this season,” Simoncelli told “I’m very happy even if the red flag doesn’t give quite the same pleasure as a chequered flag. I’m happy to take the victory and it looks much better for the championship, so now I just have to keep giving 100% and see what we can do in the last two races.”

“In the first part of the race – the first five laps – I was a little bit worried because my rear tyre was sliding a lot, but then I could see from my team that my times were very good so I decided to start pushing more, lap by lap. In the last part I was quite fast and I was able to build up a gap to the other riders, so when I saw the flag I was very happy.”

Turning his attention to the defence of his title before he moves to MotoGP next season, Simoncelli said, “The championship picture looks much better than at the previous race, but from my side I can only keep doing my work in the same way. Trying to find a good set-up in practice, and do my best in the races, that is what we will do in Malaysia and at Valencia, then we’ll see.”

“Hiroshi has not done well in the last two races, so I have to hope he continues like this, being nervous at each race. Really though I have to focus on myself. I’m fast and I’m in form.”

250cc, 2009, Iveco AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Marco Simoncelli, Metis Gilera

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