Alex de Angelis gave his chances of remaining in MotoGP next season a perfectly timed boost by finishing fourth in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix - as the top satellite Honda rider.
After spending his first two seasons in MotoGP with the Gresini Honda outfit, who have already replaced both de Angelis and Toni Elias for 2010, the Sammarinese is now pinning his hopes on an RCV seat at Team Scot.
“Obviously it's good to achieve this result at the moment as I am still waiting to sign a contract for next year,” de Angelis told the official MotoGP website. “My father and my legal representative are in negotiations with the Team Scot boss Cirano Mularoni, so I hope this result helps with finalising our agreement.”
It certainly should. On form all weekend, de Angelis bounced back from two DNFs by holding fourth from the first to last lap of Sunday's race, vaulting him forwards to joint seventh in the world championship with two rounds to go.
“It has been a fantastic weekend all round and I really enjoyed myself in that race - especially the first four or five laps when I was running with the top guys in the championship,” said Alex.
“It was a good feeling but their pace was incredible and for me it was just an achievement to stick with them for a while and open up a gap over the guys behind me. From then on it was a case of staying consistent and holding my position, which is a great result for us.
“Despite not scoring points in the last two races we have been on an excellent run of form since Germany - I've finished in the top five in four of the races since then, and I think I've proved that I deserve to be seventh in the championship,” concluded de Angelis, who took his first MotoGP podium with second earlier this year at Indianapolis.
Hampered by rear traction problems for most of the season, Elias expected a difficult time at Phillip Island. Qualifying eleventh, he went on to finish in tenth at the end of the 27 laps.
“We have made the bike a lot better as the weekend progressed but we never managed to find any consistency,” he said. “I got a great start and kept pace with the front guys for the first few laps but then I went from setting high 1min 31s to struggling around in the 1min 33s - losing two seconds a lap is just ridiculous.
“Anyway, considering all the problems we've had we've rescued a few points and we're within five points of seventh place, which is now occupied by my team-mate. That is our goal over the next two races and I'm sure we won't suffer the same problems in Malaysia.”