Thursday, July 14, 2011

Confident' Simoncelli chasing season-best

Marco Simoncelli made no secret of the fact that he had to finish the Italian Grand Prix and - having done so - he now heads for this weekend's German Grand Prix with increased confidence and motivation. 

The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider arrived at his home grand prix having crashed at the previous two races, making a total of four race falls this season. 

Simoncelli subsequently rode to a discreet fifth at Mugello - but then underlined his one-lap pace yet again by lapping just 0.096 seconds shy of world championship leader Casey Stoner at the post-race test. 

“Mugello was definitely a positive weekend with a positive end result although I wasn't completely satisfied. It was important to get to the end of the race without any dramas and put the misadventures of Silverstone and Assen behind me," he admitted. 

"The test on Monday was also positive – we tried some solutions that could help us overcome the problems we had in the race at Mugello, where I seemed to struggle more than the others with a loss of grip due to the increased track temperature. Overall the visit to Mugello has given me confidence and motivation for the next round in Germany. 

"Sachsenring is a circuit I like a lot, I have always been fast there in 125 and in 250, in fact I won the 250 races there in 2008 and 2009. Last year I had a good race in MotoGP, battling for fifth place. 

"My objective is to do my best along with the team and try to improve on the result from Mugello.” 

Team principal Fausto Gresini admitted there was a sense of relief that the all-action Simoncelli reached the flag at Mugello. 

“Simoncelli had to finish at Mugello and thankfully he did," said Gresini. "The result wasn't quite what we hoped for the night before after seeing what he had been capable of in practice on Friday and Saturday, but the most important thing for him was to finish the race. 

"Unfortunately the high track temperatures meant there was less grip and Marco was unable to push as hard as he would have liked, but to finish was a crucial boost of confidence for him. 

"We all know Marco's true potential and he showed it once again in the test when he was second only to Stoner by just 0.096 seconds. It was a constructive test with some positive feedback, which will be useful for the next race at Sachsenring.

"Marco likes the track and his motivation is really high, which indicates that he could be able to improve on the result from Mugello." 

Simoncelli's race day falls, plus his penalty at Le Mans, mean that - despite qualifying on the front row for the past six rounds - he is only tenth in the championship with a best race finish of fifth. 

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