Sepang MotoGP Reaction: Andrea Dovizioso ecstatic with maiden rostrum

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Italian rookie Andrea Dovizioso celebrated his maiden MotoGP podium today in Sepang as he survived intense heat and intense pressure from Nicky Hayden to claim a deserved third.

Dovizioso, who will replace Hayden in the Repsol Honda squad for 2009, held third place for most of an enthralling 21-lap scrap with the American, who couldn’t make two passes stick.

After claiming three fourth places in his rookie campaign, the former world 125 champion was delighted to make his big breakthrough.

“Today I am happy! The first podium in MotoGP, after so much work in a season full of satisfaction: this is important for me and for my team. I wanted to give other podiums to the team but I hope that this will repay them for all the work done this year, but it is also a thanks for the seven years that we have competed together.

“With the Scot Team I won the world 125cc championship and we wanted to achieve something spectacular, given that next year I will be in the works HRC Repsol Honda team. The race was hard and after a good start, Valentino and Dani gained ground, while Nicky and I were left behind.

“I led alone, focusing on myself, because I had no references in front and felt the approach of Nicky’s Honda going into every turn! When I saw the group behind, I realised my situation and realised that I could not afford to make the slightest mistake. I made the most of the tyres, which in these conditions slid a lot, and I had to drive hard by picking the bike up out of the corners early.

“Over the last few laps I was passed by Nicky but I managed to finish ahead and finally realise my podium finish. Thanks again to everyone on my team as every one of them has always been close to me and supportive.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt