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Fourth “almost like a podium” for Simoncelli

Fourth “almost like a podium” for Simoncelli

The San Carlo Honda Gresini rookie scored his best result of his debut season so far with fourth at Estoril, only fractionally missing out on a podium finish after a great battle with Andrea Dovizioso.

Marco Simoncelli put in a superb display from start to finish at the bwin Grande Premio de Portugal on Sunday to place fourth, his best result of his rookie premier class campaign to date and a result that was very nearly a first podium in the MotoGP category.

The former 250cc World Champion fought closely with Andrea Dovizioso for third place in an engrossing all-Italian contest in the Round 17 race, losing out on what would have been a stunning first rostrum placement on the last lap as his compatriot maximised his drive out of the final corner to beat him across the finish line by just 0.059s.

"I am really pleased with my race today,” said Simoncelli after taking fourth. “We did everything right and I was able to maintain a good rhythm from the start to the end. Dovizioso was a little bit faster than me on the straights but I still thought I could beat him. Unfortunately I made a tiny mistake in the final turn and lost a little bit of speed onto the straight, which gave him the advantage over the line.”

Having come so close Simoncelli admitted it was a pity to have missed out on a first MotoGP podium, but took great heart from having shown a clear ability to compete towards the top end of the race order and targeted an end-of-season flourish next weekend at Valencia.

“It was a shame but I am still delighted because this feels almost as good as a podium to us,” he said. “Over the last four or five races I have been consistently on the pace from Friday practice and we did it again here at Estoril. Obviously we still have to work to improve the bike, especially the electronics, if we want to be on the podium but maybe we can do that at Valencia.”

MotoGP, 2010, bwin GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini

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