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Melandri gives clearest indication yet of progress by finishing top Yamaha rider at Estoril

Melandri gives clearest indication yet of progress by finishing top Yamaha rider at Estoril

Melandri gives clearest indication yet of progress by finishing top Yamaha rider at Estoril

MotoGP rookie Marco Melandri will look back on his debut campaign as a particularly vivid sign of how tough motorcycle racing premier class can actually be.

The reigning 250cc Champ was injured in practice for the first race in Suzuka and missed two rounds. Since then he has been fighting a battle to be 100% fit as well as having to develop the new version of the M1 Yamaha that has hardly been setting alight the leaderboard in the hands of his vastly more experienced team-mate Carlos Checa. However as the season enters its latter stages there are encouraging markers that Melandri is getting to grips with the larger machine. He qualified on the front row at Donington Park before slipping off during the race and yesterday in Estoril was the highest of the five factory Yamaha riders.

Here the 21 year old comments on his best finish so far:

"I am quite happy. The bike went very well and I could keep a good pace with my average lap time in the '40s, and even a few '39s. At the same time I am a bit angry because I had some problems with my right arm and I couldn't brake properly on the esses. I know why and it won't happen again. It was a very nice race though, and I had fun.

I knew yesterday that I would do better in the race than I have done all weekend because in this morning's warm-up we improved the problem I had cornering in the last sections of the track. We made some adjustments to the set-up and they worked - I could suddenly complete the last section properly. I had a good rhythm throughout the race and I'm optimistic that I can make even more progress for the next GPs. I am also happy to be the fastest Yamaha today."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Marco Melandri

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