MotoGP: Honda boss surprised by Andrea Dovizioso

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Andrea Dovizioso's new MotoGP boss has admitted he has been surprised by the Italian's start to his rookie premier class campaign.

The former world 125 champion started 2008 in brilliant fashion, beating compatriot Valentino Rossi on the last lap to claim fourth place in Qatar.

And he nearly scored a top five finish in last weekend's Spanish GP in Jerez, only to drop out of the top six in a dramatic final corner.

Before that though he had produced a stirring fight back through the field from 16th to fifth place.

JIR Scot Honda boss Gianluca Montiron said he was surprised at Dovizioso's early season form, as he is the leading non-factory rider in the points standings.

Montiron told MCN: "Honestly, I have been quite surprised, especially in Qatar because he finished in front of Valentino. This is not like any rider, to fight with Valentino and to beat him on the last lap when he is so strong is a big surprise."

Montiron though believes Dovizioso has plenty of room for improvement, not least because of the early season form shown by fellow 250GP graduate Jorge Lorenzo.

Dovizioso and Lorenzo are long-term rivals, and Montiron said both would use each other to gauge their progress.

"I can see we can improve because Lorenzo has been in front of us. For this reason my target will be to finish in front of Lorenzo. If we are looking at the front we have another young rider and the target is to beat Lorenzo, " added Montiron.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt