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Poor weather follows MotoGP to Portugal as Melandri damages shoulder

Poor weather follows MotoGP to Portugal as Melandri damages shoulder

Poor weather follows MotoGP to Portugal as Melandri damages shoulder

The teams from the MotoGP World Championship have had their fair share of bad luck this off-season, with many of their private testing sessions being severely affected by rain. This misfortune has now transferred itself into the official testing days, as the second IRTA test for MotoGP was badly affected by heavy downpours in Estoril. After having missed out on vital practice at the first IRTA session in Jerez at the weekend due to the odd shower, encountering more rain at Portugal is the last thing the riders and their respective teams will have wanted, as they all aim to make their bikes as competitive as possible with the season opener at Suzuka on April 6th looming large.

Marco Melandri was one of the victims of the wet weather today, when on just his second lap out after the main lunchtime downpour he crashed halfway through the uphill chicane, and partially dislocated his shoulder. `I am not quite sure how it happened as I was going quite slowly,´ said the Italian youngster. `I was through the left and just went straight, and then fell directly onto my shoulder and head. I couldn´t breathe at first and thought it was serious, but now it is strapped it feels a little better.´ After x-rays it appeared that nothing was broken, but with the ligaments having been heavily stretched in the incident, the reigning 250cc World Champion will probably have to rest up over the next couple of weeks.

$$$ In terms of times, the riders put in their best laps just before the track closed for an hour's break at one o´clock - when the asphalt had dried almost completely after overnight storms. Carlos Checa made the most of the dry track to set a time of 1 minute 42.123 seconds, which is still over two seconds outside his own pole position time from last year´s race. It was impressive enough as the Yamaha rider only did seven laps all day, and was followed on the timesheets by the two Aprilias of Nori Haga and Colin Edwards.

Official times from MotoGP IRTA Test, Estoril - 26th February 2003

1. Carlos Checa (ESP) Yamaha – 1:42.123
2. Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Aprilia – 1:42.822
3. Colin Edwards (USA) Aprilia – 1:43.171
4. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati – 1:43.742
5. Marco Melandri (ITA) Yamaha – 1:43.893
(Full time sheet available in results section)

MotoGP, 2003

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