Valencia MotoGP: Marco Simoncelli targets first podium

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Marco Simoncelli has backed himself to challenge for a maiden MotoGP podium in Valencia tomorrow after he secured his first front row start with a stunning qualifying performance earlier today.

The former 250GP world champion has suddenly hit form towards the end of his rookie campaign and he posted a best time of 1.32.244 to finish just 0.114s behind new MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo on the front row.

Simoncelli had only previously scored one second row start in the opening 17 races before his third spot this afternoon that put him 0.445s behind Casey Stoner in pole position.

Now the San Carlo Gresini Honda rider is hoping to record his first premier class podium having come agonisingly close to third spot in Estoril last weekend.

He was narrowly defeated in the dash to the line by Andrea Dovizioso but he said: “I’m very happy for this first front row. In the last races I improved in every race, but here we did another step up and from the first free practice I was very comfortable on the bike and I like riding my bike in this circuit, so I understand that this could be a good weekend and we continue to work to improve every free practice and I am very fast.  

"I’m happy also because it could be possible to fight for the podium. I lost the podium in Estoril in the last 50 metres and it was not a very good sensation. But tomorrow I will try to do my best and to try to stay as close to possible to Jorge and Casey and I will fight to get the podium.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt