MotoGP rookie Marco Simoncelli is ready to bide his time getting up to speed at Gresini this year, but is confident it will not take long for him to make big progress.
The former 250cc champion will race alongside Marco Melandri in 2010, and says he is keeping his ambitions in check prior to the start of the season. He hopes that his form in the top category will mirror what happened in 250cc – where he hit top form after an early learning process.
"The beginning in 250cc was really tough, especially the first year, but after that there was a big improvement: let's hope it will be the same in MotoGP," Simoncelli told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I hope I'll learn quickly but, obviously, I need to stay calm. As in all classes, it will probably be relatively easy to get to a certain level, but to go really quick you need everything to be in shape: the rider, but also a bike that allows me to ride the way I want it to."
Simoncelli's feelings about his debut campaign have also been reinforced by the fact that questions remain about the overall competitiveness of the Honda bike.
When asked if he was worried that only Dani Pedrosa made the 2009 Honda fast, Simoncelli said: "I think the RC212V is a good bike, because de Angelis and Elias were competitive at times. Dovizioso started very well, and then lost his way a bit: these bikes probably have so many aspects to sort out that it's easy to lose the right way. We'll have to be calm and not get disheartened."
Speaking about his chances against Melandri, he said: "Let's hope I beat him! He has lots of experience and he is super quick. To beat him would mean being ahead in the championship."
Simoncelli also thinks it will be slightly weird racing against riders like Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi who he watched competing as a kid.
"Yeah, it feels strange," he explained. "I will face Capirossi, who I used to watch racing when I was only eight and obviously Valentino, who has always been my idol. It's a strange feeling, but it's nice: obviously there will be more rivalry on the track, but there will be no problem outside because we are friends and we are two intelligent persons, both sportsmen. I think we'll continue getting on well together."