Marco Simoncelli thinks he has every chance of staying in the podium battle at Valencia on race day after taking his first front-row qualifying position in MotoGP.
The Gresini Honda rider has been getting ever more competitive in recent rounds, and after flying in practice he took third place behind Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo this afternoon - which also put him five places ahead of the next-best Honda.
"The weekend started well, in every practice we were at the front," said Simoncelli. "Also the rhythm for the race seems good, so I hope to also be here [in the top three] tomorrow."
Last weekend at Estoril, Simoncelli looked set to take his first MotoGP podium with third place only for Andrea Dovizioso's works Honda to pip him at the finish line. But Simoncelli said he was just satisfied that he had been making so much progress in the final part of his rookie season.
"Of course I'm very happy, and I'm so happy because since some races ago up to now we've improved at every race, step by step – and in Portugal we finished near to the podium," he said.