Andrea Dovizioso is celebrating after turning in his first MotoGP podium since joining the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team with a fine run to third at the Catalunya Grand Prix.
Together with team-mate Cal Crutchlow, the Italian, who made the switch to the Yamaha team for 2012 after being frozen out of Repsol Honda's line-up, has been a constant figure in the upper echelons of the MotoGP reckoning since the start of the season, but this is the first time either has taken the satellite M1 to the podium.
Starting sixth on the grid, Dovizioso's strong start – coupled to Ben Spies's off – would lift him up to third in the early stages, whereby he maintained an impressive pace to stay in touch with leaders Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
Though a costly error would see him drop into the clutches of Casey Stoner in the final stages, Dovizioso clung on to secure what is a 17th career MotoGP podium finish, a result he hadn't expected so soon into his Tech 3 endeavour.
“I am really happy to get my first podium for Yamaha and this is a fantastic reward for all the effort my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew has put in since I came to this team,” he said. “We have been building up to this result for a while now, but it is great to be battling at the front in MotoGP on a satellite machine and I'm sure nobody expected us to be doing this so early. It was a very hard race because there wasn't a lot of grip but I am really happy because I was able to fight very close to Pedrosa and Lorenzo, who are so strong on this track.
“I was only losing one or two tenths and this is very positive. Maybe I could have stayed with them and fought for the win but I made a small mistake and that cost me a lot of time. I found my pace again but in the final laps Casey and Cal caught me, but I was determined to finish on the podium.
“I could hear Casey's bike and knew he was looking to attack, but I tried to give my maximum while not making a mistake and to finish third is great for the whole Team. Now we can go to Silverstone with a lot of confidence.”
Dovizioso's result takes him past Crutchlow for fourth place in the overall MotoGP standings.