MotoGP rookie Marco Simoncelli rose from eleventh on the grid to third after three laps of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, but the intense heat later took its toll on the Italian and he crossed the line in eighth.

"Obviously the result is a bit of a shame but I am happy because I came through from the back to have a really good first two-thirds of the race," said the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider. "Unfortunately after that I physically couldn't do any more.

"I was struggling to breathe, my vision was blurred and I really found it hard to make it to the end. If we could have kept our pace to the end we could have finished fourth or fifth so like I said it is a shame but I am happy because this is a track I don't particularly love.

"Winter testing here was a disaster [a big crash meant Simoncelli needed scans in hospital], yet here we were today putting in a good performance, even chasing Dovizioso and Lorenzo over the first few laps. Now I'm looking forward to the next race because this was a positive weekend for us."

At the finish Marco Melandri was just four tenths of a second behind his team-mate. Melandri had looked capable of a good result but once again ran into front issues, which caused him to run wide and drop several places at one-third distance. After that he recovered well, revelling in the heat while Simoncelli suffered.

"What can I say? The result was a shame because compared to other races I got a good start here and my pace was decent," said the Italian. "Unfortunately after just two laps I lost feeling for the front and every time I let go of the brakes I felt there was a risk I was going to crash.

"I went wide at a couple of places because I couldn't match the pace of the guys in front of me. I got back on track and caught de Puniet but it was tough to pass him. Once I managed it I kept my pace up whilst a few guys in front of me got tired.

"Physically I felt good, so it was a shame because this could have been a good race for us."

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