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The road to the 250cc World Championship title for Marco Melandri in 2002

The road to the 250cc World Championship title for Marco Melandri in 2002

The road to the 250cc World Championship title for Marco Melandri in 2002

After playing second fiddle to Daijiro Kato and Tetsuya Harada last season, Marco Melandri became the automatic favourite for the quater-litre title in 2002 as the Japanese pair stepped up to contest the MotoGP World Championship.

The statistics set by the Aprilia rider throughout the season show dominant consistency, despite a less than convincing start to the season. Crashes in Suzuka and Jerez sandwiched victory in Welkom and question marks began to appear, but an unbeaten run of six races from Mugello at the start of June to Brno at the end of August gave him a comfortable advantage at the top of the standings. Melandri also took second at Le Mans, Estoril and Motegi as well as fourth place at Rio.

Melandri led the series after two rounds but conceded ground to Fonsi Nieto in Jerez. By Assen he was back in front and maintained his grip for the rest of the season. The Italian took just one pole position throughout the season but only failed to make the front row once. Last week, the Italian rider had a first chance to secure the title, but a mechanical problem forced him to retire on the second lap.

Tags:
250cc, 2002, SKYY VODKA Australian Grand Prix, Marco Melandri

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