Andrea Dovizioso held off a fierce late challenge from Casey Stoner to record his first podium for Yamaha in yesterday’s Catalunya MotoGP race.
Dovizioso was never outside of the top three after the third lap when he was promoted to third by an early mistake from factory Yamaha rival Ben Spies.
For the opening half of the race, Dovizioso kept his satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine within striking distance of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa at the front of the field.
But a mistake on the brakes for Turn 1 on lap 14 ended his challenge and dropped him back into the clutches of Stoner and team-mate Cal Crutchlow.
The Italian brilliantly fended off Stoner to claim third and secure the first podium for the French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad since Colin Edwards was third in a rain-lashed British Grand Prix at Silverstone nearly 12 months ago.
Dovizioso said: “I could feel the sound of Casey’s bike on the last lap and I pushed really hard to try and not make a mistake because Casey was pushing really hard. His lap time was very fast but I knew I had to push at 100% and not make a mistake because I didn’t want to fight to the last corners because the grip was really bad and it is difficult to fight like this. Apart from that I am really happy because my pace was really close to Lorenzo and Pedrosa. I was only slower by one or two-tenths at the start and it might not look big but it was for me because the grip was bad for everybody and you can't be more aggressive when the grip is like this. I tried to brake hard and one time I tried too much and I missed a lot of metres without the rear on the ground at Turn 1 and made a mistake. That ended my possibility to try and finish with them finished but I just wanted to concentrate on myself because Cal was with Casey and I didn't want a battle with them.”
Dovizioso said his first rostrum on board a YZR-M1 was reward for all the hard work his Tech 3 Team has put in to help him adapt him from Honda.
He added: “To be in a satellite team and fight with them and take only nine seconds after a big mistake is good. I am happy with Yamaha because they give us the support and like I said before the team has real passion and we are working good. We have improved each time on the bike right from the first test. A few tenths is difficult to close to the front but we are close and maybe nobody expected this situation with us being as fast as we are at this point.”
See the June 6 issue of MCN for more coverage of the Catalunya MotoGP.