Andrea Dovizioso's hopes of returning to a factory MotoGP ride in 2013 have been given another significant boost as he secured his fourth podium finish in five races on home soil at Mugello.
Looking to make it three podium results over three consecutive race weekends, while Dovizioso gave himself work to do by qualifying seventh on the grid, a superb start had him up to second position by the end of the opening lap.
Eventually dropping behind Dani Pedrosa, Dovizioso became embroiled in an entertaining race-long tussle for the final podium spot with LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl
While the German edged ahead with a pass on lap ten, Dovizioso maintained his pressure on the young MotoGP rookie to snatch back the position with three laps remaining to ensure the home fans would have someone to cheer on the rostrum.
“To get a podium is always special but to do it in front of the Italian crowd and after such a strong battle makes it feel even better,” the Tech 3 Yamaha rider said. “I got the perfect start and was third at the first corner and I felt very strong in braking at the start so passed Dani at Turn 5.
“Immediately though I could see that Lorenzo was faster in some parts of the track, but it was good to see again the small points I need to improve to get the best out of the Yamaha.
“The fight with Bradl for the whole race was fantastic and he did a great job. When he passed me he was making it look easy and I was having to push right at the limit to make sure he couldn't open up a gap that I couldn't recover.
“He was trying for his first podium and I was pushing hard to be on the podium in Italy, so it made for a great battle. I knew I was a little bit stronger in the brakes than him so with three laps to go I decided to attack and I was confident I could hold him off.
“He didn't give up but I am so happy with another podium and I want to say a big thanks again to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. We are working so well together and our results show it. After three podiums in a row now I am really looking forward to going to Laguna Seca.”
Having now finished third at Catalunya, Assen, Sachsenring and Mugello this season, Dovizioso's four podiums is already two more than Ben Spies managed during his breakthrough year at Tech 3 in 2010.
With pressure mounting on Factory Yamaha rider Spies to improve his form over the second-half of the year, former factory Honda rider Dovizioso has now established a 42-point margin over the American in the overall standings.