Marco Simoncelli says he has plenty of positives to take away from the Catalunya Grand Prix, despite being unable to convert his maiden MotoGP pole position into anything more than a sixth place finish.
The Italian, who came into the weekend under scrutiny following his clash with Dani Pedrosa during the French Grand Prix, responded with impressive pace throughout the weekend, culminating in his march to pole position during qualifying.
However, having also hinted at a victory challenge with the fastest time in warm-up, a tentative first few bends left him seventh at the end of the opening lap. Though he was up to sixth by lap four, the Italian wouldn't progress beyond that.
Unable to explain why he struggled in race conditions, though Simoncelli was disappointed to not at least get a maiden MotoGP podium result, he still declared his weekend a success.
“I don't know if I held the clutch too long at the start but it slipped and a lot of riders passed me, costing me a lot of time,” the Gresini Honda rider said. “After that I was unable to get back into the rhythm I had during practice and I was struggling, even though the pace in general was slower.
“I had a gap of over a second to the guys in front of me and I got it back down to three tenths to Valentino but after a few laps I was taking too many chances in certain areas where it was a little damp and decided to pull my oars in and bring the bike home.
“Overall the weekend has been positive because after the pole sixth place doesn't feel great but I have to think back to how I felt arriving here in Barcelona and be satisfied. I achieved the first of my three objectives from yesterday, which was to finish, so we will try for the other two in the next race.”
His team manager Fausto Gresini was also full of praise for Simoncelli, lauding his performance in light of recent events.
“We are trying to look at the positives from the weekend because there have been plenty of fantastic moments. Obviously a sixth place for Marco is not the best but if we sit and think back to the night before the Grand Prix and Marco's mindset when he arrived in Barcelona this is a more than satisfactory result.
“He scored the first pole for our team since 2005 and provided the perfect answer on the track to all the words that had been said against him off it. We are proud to have Marco with us and we are sure he will give us plenty more to cheer about.”