Simón: "People like seeing an athlete who fights until the end."

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simon reviews le mans race
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Blusens Avintia rider Julián Simón spoke with motogp.com ahead of the Catalunya Grand Prix, where last year he suffered a serious leg injury that put paid to his season, to get his thoughts on the imminent home race, and of course the dramatic ending at Le Mans.

Simón’s race at Le Mans may have yielded a low points tally for the Spanish rider, yet it did wonders for his appreciation from race fans. His somewhat unusual entrance onto the home straight, where he was pushing his bike towards the finish line after it stopped in the final turn, raised the French crowd off their seat and probably many off their sofas as well. He instantly became a symbol of sporting courage, and for many this summed up what that race was all about.

In his sprint to the line, the rider from Toledo managed to salvage 13th place, after his bike suffered an electrical fault in the last bend while running in sixth, and proved that he is the kind of rider that never gives up.

Julian, you've given a new meaning to the phrase "pushing the bike to the limit…"

"Yes, it’s true. I think people enjoy seeing an athlete that fights until the end, and I was happy to be part of such an event. But what I did was a natural reaction; it’s something I think all riders would have done. We all want to cross the finish line, even those in last position, and that’s what I was thinking in France. I thought if I got off the bike and pushed it across the line I could salvage some points. In the end I still managed to get three."

Your display of surrendering and not willing to fall at the final hurdle, has perhaps had more of an impact than some of your podiums...

"People were cheering me on and were glad to see me run towards the line, and it will remain a great memory which I’ll no doubt remember forever. In fact, I would like to frame a picture of it and hang it up at home. Even though the race was not a great result, it will remind me of that moment."

Apart from the unexpected and dramatic ending, you had a very solid race, where you were fighting with the leading group in particularly harsh conditions. Are you noticing progress with the Suter chassis you’ve been using since the GP in Jerez?

"We are getting more competitive, but we need a bit more fine tuning, especially with regards to front end feel, to go a little faster. I was making up a lot of positions and having fun despite the poor track conditions. During the practice session I had the pace to finish the race in maybe fifth or sixth, and that’s where we were."

"I had a run off track whilst dodging Corsi, who had fallen, and I lost many positions that I had to claw back. But we are at a point where, if I get a set up to give me more confidence with the front of my Suter, I'm sure we’ll be able to fight for a top five spot towards the end of the season."

The next race is at the Montmeló circuit, where last year you suffered a serious accident resulting in a fractured tibia and fibula in your right leg, which ruined the rest of your campaign. Will this weigh on your mind when pushing for a good result?

"This race is a huge opportunity for me to rid myself of the bad thoughts from last year and dedicate a good result to my fans. I would like to get to a level with the Suter, where I am fully in-tune with it and able to achieve good results. In Catalunya, my goal will be to be among the top five or top ten, as that's where we belong. Let's see what happens, but Montmeló is the perfect setting to forget the accident from last year and start looking forwards."

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