Reigning 125cc world champion Julian Simon took his first Moto2 podium on his debut with the Suter chassis at Le Mans on Sunday.
After a solitary eighth from the first two rounds with the RSV chassis, Mapfre Aspar switched to the most popular Suter design in time for round three and - although unable to repeat his front row starts with the RSV - he produced his best race so far.
Starting ninth, Simon had moved up to third by lap five and caught race leader Toni Elias with eleven laps to go. The Moriwaki of Elias went on to beat Simon by 1.3sec, but Simon was more than satisfied with second place and top Suter.
“I was ready for anything, and worked well in the opening laps by looking for the space to pass a number of riders. I was lucky to stay out of the way of any crashers, right up until I arrived at Elias' tail,” he recalled.
“I went round with him, but I knew that passing him would be another matter due to his more consistent pace. I am very happy with my first podium in this new category, especially as I debuted the new bike with a top three finish.
“We have to keep working because we still have some way to go in fine tuning the bike, but I want to thank everybody in the team and sponsors for supporting the decision to change chassis during the season,” he added.
Simon is now up to fourth in the championship, but already 35 points from Elias.
Team-mate Mike di Meglio's results didn't improve with the change of chassis as he finished his home race in a disappointing 20th, but several incidents cost him a lot of time.
“On the opening lap I nearly ran over Abraham's head when he crashed, and the incident dropped me down to last place,” he explained. “I tried to come back, and eventually passed a few riders, but then my steering locked up and I nearly crashed. That made me lose concentration and stopped my ascent.
“In the end, though, we didn't finish in too bad a position. The bike has power, we have a good foundation there, but we need a lot of work in order to be competitive. I think our chances of a good race were ended with qualifying 29th. We will change our mentality for Italy, and must qualify further ahead than 19th in order to avoid problems."