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Melandri looking forward to MotoGP return at Jerez

Melandri looking forward to MotoGP return at Jerez

Melandri looking forward to MotoGP return at Jerez

Italian youngster Marco Melandri is well on the road to recovery after his fall during the Friday morning practice session at the Japanese Grand Prix one month ago forced him to sit out the season´s first two races. Melandri suffered a double fracture of his ankle and a small chipped fracture of the femur in the high-speed crash, as well as a broken nose. He has spent the past month in rehabilitation, receiving medical treatment from the Clinica Mobile doctors in Imola, and now he is fit to return to action.

`Now I don´t feel too bad in general and my body condition is okay to ride again,´ said Melandri of his progress. `I would say my fitness level is about 60% right now but at this stage the best training is to ride the bike again. Since Suzuka I have been working a lot in physiotherapy, and this has been my only focus. I have stayed in Imola at my sister´s house, and on Doctor Costa´s advice I have been swimming and cycling for about six hours each day. After Suzuka I was hoping to be ready to ride in South Africa but then I chose not to race there because it would have been too risky.

`I watched the race in Welkom and was really sad because I was so far from the track. I tried to stay positive and convince myself that it was better to stay at home and to focus on working on my ankle and getting it better for Jerez. Anyway my leg has healed quicker than was expected and I cannot personally say exactly how well it is until I ride again. I rode a Yamaha R6 in Monza last week for a short time but Jerez will be like training again for me and I know that I must take things slowly, as if I´m starting all over again. Physically speaking, the muscles around my femur are still not perfect but the bone itself is okay. The main problem is my ankle but I´m lucky because I injured my right ankle and with the four-strokes you can use the rear brake a bit less if you choose to.´

Melandri has had some productive pre-season testing time with the M1 at Jerez, and is now looking forward to his return: `I never liked the Jerez circuit particularly until I rode the M1 there this winter,´ said the Italian. `I prefer it much more with the four-stroke rather than the two-stroke because the engine braking helps me to turn into the fast corners. It rained a lot during our winter testing there but I finally got some good practice in during the IRTA test. I´ve never ridden particularly well there in my two-stroke days but I hope that will change. I will know after the practice sessions how strong I will be physically for the race. I think for sure it will be hard because I haven´t been able to train properly since my accident in Suzuka.´

MotoGP, 2003, Marco Melandri

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