Alvaro Bautista pumps his fist after finishing third in the Grand Prix of France. (Photo: Getty Images)

pumps his fist after finishing third in the Grand Prix of France. (Photo: Getty Images)

Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini celebrated their first podium of the 2014 season at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France thanks to an excellent third-place finish by Alvaro Bautista.

The result saw Bautista put his three DNFs in the opening rounds of the year firmly behind him as he returned to the podium for the first time since the 2012 Grand Prix of Japan.

Starting from seventh on the grid, the Spaniard produced a strong performance aboard his Honda RC213V, undertaking several passes and settling into third place with 10 laps to go. He was beaten to the finish line only by championship leader Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi.

Bautista stated, “We have experienced a difficult start to the season, in which we have suffered so much, but we always continued to work hard, so I would like to thank the team because they worked very well throughout the whole weekend. I knew I could get a good result in the race because during practice we were very close to the other riders, apart from Marquez who has always shown a higher potential.”

“I started the race pretty well, but in the early laps there was a lot of traffic; in any case I kept calm and slowly I took my pace, recovering many positions. Once I reached the third position, I tried to push to try to catch Rossi, but the gap was too big. Thanks to the whole team and our sponsors, who were close to us even in difficult times.”

The race saw also a strong performance by , who crossed the finish line in 12th position, second placed in the Open Class behind Aleix Espargaro.

The young Briton explained, “I knew I had a good feeling with the bike, during practice we were just struggling with some things which remain to be solved, but in every session I was getting faster, also in Qualifying and during Warm Up, so I was feeling quite comfortable ahead of the race. In the race I’ve been quite consistent and I was able to pull a gap from Hiroshi Aoyama, and even if Nicky (Hayden) crashed, I think that we could have been battling.”

“I also learned a lot to control the tires, trying not to burn them out too much in the beginning. It’s good to be back as the fastest Open Class Honda ahead of the Mugello race. Now I feel comfortable with the bike setting and I look forward to racing on a track I like very much.”

Tags: , , ,