Dovizioso Grabs Maiden MotoGP Podium in Malaysia
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“I was afraid in the last three laps, because I didn't know where Nicky wanted to try to overtake me. When he overtook me with four laps remaining, I overtook him again and wanted to push 100 percent for the last three laps because we didn't have the power down the straight so I had to stay in front of him. For the last three laps I went very fast given my package, so I'm very happy,” said an enthusiastic Dovizioso after the race.
With only the Valencia race remaining in the 2008 schedule, this was one of the last opportunities for Dovi to score a podium for JiR Scot. The Italian was confirmed at Honda’s works team in 2009, replacing the very same driver whom he battled for 3rd place in Sepang, Nicky Hayden.
The Texan congratulated his opponent after the race, admitting that “[...] the dude held tough. We went back and forth a few times and I enjoyed the battle, you know it was fun to be fighting for the podium but I came up short. Congratulations to Dovi on his first podium”.
When asked whether Dovizioso will improve his performances at Honda’s works team next season, Hayden didn’t hesitate to give the Italian a boost of confidence. He warned that Dovi will most likely become a title contender in the years to come, especially with what he’s achieved as an independent rider in his rookie year.
“Certainly he gets just about everything out of the package he´s got right now and he is solid. Week in and week out he doesn't make a lot of mistakes and he is fast in all conditions. He is going to be a big threat next year and he is the real deal,” MotoGP news quoted Hayden as saying.
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