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Melandri ready to build on best result of the season

Melandri ready to build on best result of the season

Melandri ready to build on best result of the season

Marco Melandri arrives at the Sepang circuit this weekend high on confidence after his best ever MotoGP result at Motegi last Sunday. The 250cc World Champion, contesting his first season in the premier class, was forced off-track by the first-corner chaos involving John Hopkins, Troy Bayliss, Colin Edwards and his team-mate Carlos Checa and had to fight his way through the field from nineteenth position. After making up ten places in just four laps, Melandri then overcame some illustrious company to seal a career-high fifth spot.

"I started quite well but was forced wide," explained Melandri. "I saw Carlos come wide as well. It felt like he touched me, I lost the rear and almost crashed, then ran into the gravel. It took a lot of time to get back onto the track, and when I did it took three or four corners to clean the tyres. I was really far behind the others but soon after I was back on the pace. I saw Valentino pass me later in the race and that helped me to catch Capirossi and Barros. I was only disappointed because it took me a long time to catch them. Overall I'm quite pleased with the result considering what happened."

The hot and humid Sepang circuit presents a new challenge for the 20 year old, who has never ridden the YZR-M1 machine here but has plenty of experience on smaller machinery. "Obviously I only have experience of this track with the two-stroke bike. Last year I had to stop because of a broken engine on the first lap. It was my first chance to win the 250cc championship, so I was really disappointed. In 2001 I raced there with a broken hand and managed to finish 11th! I think that the four-stroke bike will spin a lot there but I'm not totally sure what I will find. I really want to enjoy riding the bike there, to have a clear mind before I go there, and to take the best result I can."

"It's a really difficult racetrack because of the weather conditions, and for me the most difficult track of the championship," concluded the Italian. "But I really like Sepang anyway, even though it's hard on the bike and the tyres in the humidity. After a couple of laps your tyres are suffering. It's a very important track from a technical point of view because it's difficult to find a good line, as the track is so wide that there are many possibilities."

MotoGP, 2003, Marco Melandri

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