Mike Di Meglio was a relieved man after an impressive ride through the field to finish ninth in the Moto2 Grand Prix of Portugal.
The Frenchman had endured a difficult start to the season after finishing 19th in Qatar and 26th at Jerez four weeks ago, and things didn't seem to be going much better for him in Estoril after qualifying on the ninth row.
But the former 125cc World Champion made good progress through the 26 lap race to finish ninth and was right on the tail of the three riders ahead of him on the final lap.
Di Meglio feels today's race was proof of the progress he has made with the Mistral 610 and hopes to have set the standard for the rest of the season.
“I am really happy because I started 26th and finished ninth and that is very good for me and the Team to get back into the points after a difficult start to the season. We are definitely moving in the right way now with the Mistral 610 machine and I felt I could ride to my normal potential today. Now we have to make sure we continue in this way, particularly with my home race coming up in Le Mans, which is obviously very important for me.”
Di Meglio admitted that he had taken a different approach than he had in the first two weekends, and almost went back to basics at Estoril.
“We went back to the bike settings we used in winter testing and I also pushed a lot more, so I’m definitely learning more about the bike. I am sometimes too much of an engineer. Maybe that is good for MotoGP, but in this class you need to forget about that and just ride and push. I did that today and it paid off, so I go Le Mans full of confidence now.”
Team manager HervÃ© Poncharal paid tribute to the Frenchman, and is hopeful that this weekend's performance will see him return to the 125cc title winning form of 2008.
“Mike was fantastic today and he produced an incredible recovery. I am very happy for Mike because the beginning of the season was like a nightmare and honestly we did not know what to do. Everybody has been working really hard and I hope today was the spark that we were waiting for and that from now on we will see Mike consistently fighting for the points. With the race he has done today I think we can expect a very strong result in France at the next race, which is hugely important for Mike and all of us inside the Tech 3 Racing Team.”