Andrea Iannone is determined to 'keep his feet on the ground' after claiming a first MotoGP podium on his Ducati Team debut in the Qatar season opener.

The young Italian was in the victory battle for most of the 22-lap race and, while team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and race winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) were able to escape in the closing laps, Iannone re-passed Jorge Lorenzo for third position.

So what are his targets for the forthcoming events, beginning with next weekend's Austin round?

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"I expect to fight for the top five positions. I don't want to speak about a podium every Sunday because I understand it is very difficult in MotoGP," Iannone replied. "Every rider is strong.

"Sure the new bike [GP15] improves a lot, but it is really young. I don't know when I get to Austin for the first time with this bike what is the feeling. I'm positive but I want to keep my feet on the ground."

Iannone, who spent his two previous MotoGP seasons with the satellite Pramac Ducati team, hadn't stood on a grand prix rostrum since the 2012 Misano Moto2 race.

"I fight every Sunday in Moto2 for the top three and when I start in MotoGP I understand it is completely different. But I stayed calm and got better each year as the bike got better," he said.

"This is my third year but my first with a competitive bike and it is completely different. This result is really important for my motivation because it's a long time since I've been on the podium. I want to thank the whole team because it is not just my work.

"It's incredible and emotional for me. My first podium in MotoGP and it's with Ducati."