Marco Simoncelli declared that his first MotoGP pole position at Catalunya was the perfect way to move on from the criticism he has received in recent months.
Rival riders have repeatedly voiced concerns about Simoncelli's aggressive riding, and the criticism reached a crescendo after the French Grand Prix, when Dani Pedrosa sustained a broken collarbone in a collision with the Gresini Honda rider. Simoncelli has been increasingly competitive this year, leading until crashing at Jerez and coming close to pole at both Estoril and Le Mans. He finally took his first MotoGP pole by beating Casey Stoner to the top spot in Spain today.
"This is the best way to cancel the incident of Le Mans, the polemics and everything everybody said until now," he said.
The Italian admitted that pole had been a surprise given Stoner's dominant form in practice and the early part of qualifying.
"I'm very happy, I didn't expect this pole position because Casey was very fast in every session - faster than me," Simoncelli conceded. "And also because in the first part of qualifying today we had some problems with the set-up, but in the last part we found a good setup, I could push and I did this time."
Simoncelli suspects that fellow front row men Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo – who have both been among the Gresini man's critics – will be hard to beat tomorrow, but is still keen to try and take the fight to them.
"I'm very happy and confident for tomorrow," he said. "I know that it will be a difficult race because Casey and Jorge are very strong on race pace. But anyway I'll try to do my best tomorrow."