Simoncelli agrees one-year extension

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The Independent Online

Italian rider Marco Simoncelli has penned a contract extension to stay with Gresini Honda for the 2012 MotoGP season.

Simoncelli, who only made his debut in the premier class last year, has impressed with his pace in qualifying this season – taking two poles – but his performances in races have been less eye-catching.

He drew widespread criticism for a clash at this year's French Grand Prix at Le Mans that left factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa nursing a broken collarbone, while he only has one podium finish to his name ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.

"To be wearing the colours of Team San Carlo Honda Gresini for another year and riding a Honda RC213V gives me a lot of satisfaction," the 24-year-old said.

Simoncelli had been linked with a move to another outfit for 2012, so team manager Fausto Gresini was delighted to secure his signature for another year.

"Marco's huge determination will give us all a lot of motivation ahead of what promises to be an exciting new season," he said.