Dovizioso thrilled with maiden podium
|By Toby Moody and Matt Beer||Sunday, October 19th 2008, 09:57 GMT|
Andrea Dovizioso was delighted to hold off factory Honda rider Nicky Hayden to secure his first podium finish in Malaysia.
The JiR Scot Honda rider has had an extremely impressive MotoGP rookie season and will replace Ducati-bound Hayden on the works bike next year, but until Sepang he had been unable to translate his speed into a podium finish.
However today he resisted pressure from Hayden and a queue of other riders to take third - a result he found particularly satisfying given the technical disadvantages of his customer bike.
"I was afraid in the last three laps, because I didn't know where Nicky wanted to try to overtake me," said Dovizioso.
"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."
The Italian said he had been keen to reach the podium before leaving the JiR Scot team.
"Before I finished the year it was very important for me to get a podium," said Dovizioso. "But it's very difficult for us. During the season there were many races where we were near the podium, but it was very difficult for us, so I'm really happy and want to say thank you to all the team."
He felt he had coped well with the physical challenge given the extremely hot conditions in Malaysia and the constant pressure he was under.
"It was very difficult because I did all the race in front, which is the worst conditions for the rider," Dovizioso said. "But my body was in good shape and I could concentrate 100 percent."