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Fuel problems for Checa and Melandri

Fuel problems for Checa and Melandri

Fuel problems for Checa and Melandri

Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri were forced to retire from the inaugural Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar on Saturday, both riders suffering with fuel problems caused by the overheating of their Yamaha M1 machines.

After the race Checa said that he believed Valentino Rossi could have also ended up retiring from the race even if he didn't crash out, with Norick Abe the only Yamaha rider to make it to the finish line.

"Five laps from the end the bike began to have problems and two laps later it stopped completely," explained Checa, who was lapping comfortably in third place at the time. "It turned out to be a fuel problem which affected the supply to the engine and that prevented me to hang on to that certain third place.

"I feel powerless but I also feel really sorry for everybody at Yamaha, who worked really hard and didn't deserve this. I can only imagine the same thing would have happened to Rossi if he hadn't have fallen.

"As far as I am concerned, the only thing I know is that I have worked to my maximum along with the team all weekend, and that is satisfying despite the bad luck.

"At this point of the season I know I need results, but you can't do anything about what happened today. I just have to keep working along these lines and try to repeat this performance at Phillip Island, hoping that luck is on our side this time."

Melandri could have taken advantage of Checa's misfortune and made the podium himself, but the Italian youngster had also ready been forced to stop with the same problems.

"I had fuel-pump problems and I was forced to retire," confirmed Melandri. "It was a tough race because some drops of fuel kept going on the front-end of the bike and on my visor since the beginning of the race.

"After few laps, I didn't have rip-off visors left and I could hardly see my board. It's a shame, my weekend looked to be ending in a better way than the first two practice days and I'm sure I could have battled with Xaus until the end."

MotoGP, 2004, MARLBORO GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Marco Melandri

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