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Melandri reflects on first MotoGP season while still recovering from shoulder op

Melandri reflects on first MotoGP season while still recovering from shoulder op

Melandri reflects on first MotoGP season while still recovering from shoulder op

Marco Melandri watched Manuel Poggiali claim his 250cc crown in Valencia from a hospital bed after an operation on his right shoulder at the Villa Serena clinic, Italy.

The former number one was once again at the care of doctors after a tough and painful MotoGP debut campaign. The result of the crash at Phillip Island was more surgery and now the 21 year old is well into a rehabilitation period; giving the factory Yamaha man time to reflect on a disappointing 2003 season after his glorious title winning term in 2002.

Once the shoulder is fixed (with an anticipated return to the M1 slated for January) Melandri will slide sideways into the Tech 3 team instead of partnering good friend and new Yamaha recruit Valentino Rossi in the current factory squad. In the meantime he remarked:

"Everything is slowly getting better. The doctor recently took one of the two wires off and the second will also be removed very soon. I can more or less start passive physiotherapy now and within a week I should be able to get my arm up to 90 degrees. When the second wire comes out and the wound heals I can then start swimming. I am feeling very positive because there is less pain everyday and I can feel the improvement all the time."

Commenting on his first year with Yamaha and in the MotoGP class here is what the friendly Italian had to say:

"I never thought it would be easy but then I wasn't expecting such a difficult time. I thought I could have been more consistent once I had got into a steady routine and learned how to ride the four-strokes. The reality was that I had a good feeling at certain circuits whilst at others I could barely ride the bike. I had set-up problems at many tracks and wasn't able to gain the results I was looking for or expecting."

"At the GPs where it did all come together I was not that far away from the leaders and my team-mates. The MotoGP class has some very good riders and it is easy to slide out of the top ten if everything is not working well. It was hard to get the settings right on the bike and I have to admit that sometimes I lost heart and didn't push to the maximum of my ability. I am not happy with the 2003 season but I am also not getting too negative looking at the final classification because I know I am better than that. Apart from Malaysia I was consistently in the same group as Checa and Barros; good riders with a lot of experience and on the same bike. My lack of knowledge tended to show itself in qualifying where I had a hard time making a quick lap on sticky tyres. At Barcelona and Mugello in particular I was struggling to find some kind of direction."

"The year was ruined after the crash at Suzuka because it caused a lot of physical problems in my arms, back and foot for quite a while afterwards. Towards the end of the year things begun to pick up and the race in Australia was exciting until the fall."

"The main problem has been at the circuits with poor grip and it will important to go to somewhere like Malaysia over the winter to get some testing done, with a stronger technical base on the M1 getting up to speed will be a lot easier. "

MotoGP, 2003, Marco Melandri

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