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Melandri improving ahead of French date

Melandri improving ahead of French date

Melandri improving ahead of French date

It has been a hard month for Italian youngster Marco Melandri, and probably the toughest start to any season he has known in his relatively short career. The 250cc World Champion has been desperate to recover from multiple leg injuries sustained at Suzuka over six weeks ago and on his return to action at Jerez he was bothered by back pain caused by adapting his movement to cope with the injuries. Melandri battled his way up to ninth position in Spain before his aching back led him to run off the track and then slow down. He finished the race in sixteenth position, and as yet does not have any points in the MotoGP class. However, he is relieved to have completed his first race of the season and is revved up for this weekend´s Grand Prix Polini de France.

`I like Le Mans, I finished second there last year, and third the year before,´ noted Melandri. `Last year I was injured there on the Saturday and I had some problems during the race but I still managed to finish in second position. This will be my first time there on the M1, and I remember well that Yamaha are always very competitive there. It´s not so much of a technical track, it´s one corner then a straight, one corner then another straight, and on like that. Any racing circuit is never simple but I think that it won´t be too difficult to learn this circuit quickly on the M1.´

Melandri went directly from Jerez to a two day test at one of his home local circuits in Mugello, Italy. The Fortuna Yamaha Team spent the two days working hard on set-up and it was an ideal opportunity for Melandri to continue his recuperation and test his riding ability again. Melandri had visited his local doctor before testing for a general check-up and was advised that the best training he could do was to get back on his bike.

`I went for an ultrasound on my back with my local doctor before the Mugello test,´ explained Melandri. `The problems I had in Jerez ironically involved a bone in my back, not in my leg where I was injured. My back had not properly straightened since Suzuka, and after one month this took its toll on the muscles and ligaments. My back felt so much better at the Mugello test last week, just a bit stiff.´

MotoGP, 2003, Marco Melandri

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