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Melandri and Gibernau eagerly anticipate the British GP

Melandri and Gibernau eagerly anticipate the British GP

Melandri and Gibernau eagerly anticipate the British GP

With the first eight races now behind them, Team MoviStar Honda MotoGP can boast seven podiums and two riders among the first five in the overall championship standings. Marco Melandri is lying in second place with 107 points and Sete Gibernau is lying fourth, just 5 points off 3rd-placed Max Biaggi.

Marco Melandri, who lives nearby Donington, is looking forward to next weekend's British Grand Prix as an opportunity to bounce back after his first-lap crash at Laguna Seca.

"Donington is something special, characterised by an exciting fast section and a second, slower section. Thanks to the new asphalt laid last year the track has improved enormously and now gives outstanding grip. It's the section where the first two intermediate times are taken that I like best: the downhill tract and the sweeping uphill bend on the left: it's pure exhilaration – and requires every last drop of skill," explains Melandri.

"The best spots for overtaking are the three slow bends towards the end of the track. The secret behind a good lap time at Donington Park? First and foremost, decisiveness and determination – especially as you speed into the Craner (the downhill bend) on those qualifying tyres! You also need to be flexible enough to adapt to the characteristics of the track, being ready to switch from the fast bends at the start to the much slower ones that follow (especially the last three). The secret, then, lies in finding the right compromise between hard braking and smooth handling."

"In a way the Donington GP is my second "home" race as I live less than two miles from the circuit. Yet it's a whole different atmosphere compared to Mugello. It's good to see the number of spectators continuing to rise year after year, clear evidence of growing British interest in MotoGP, yet we're a long way off from the passion of an Italian crowd! My best memory of this track is undoubtedly my 250cc victory back in 2002. And the worst memory is still fresh in my mind: the fall in the 2004 GP in which I broke my right thumb: it had to be operated on, and ended up conditioning the rest of the season."

His team-mate Sete Gibernau is expecting a tough challenge at the British track, where he secured podium finished in the past two years.

"I don't find the track easy at all. The bike has to be set up to perfection to handle the heavy braking and steep downhill sections. The Craner is notoriously difficult: there's no visibility and the switch in direction has to be taken blind. The track consists of two very different sections: an initial fast section and a subsequent slower one with plenty of braking," says the Spaniard.

"My favourite section is the last two bends, traditionally the setting for some spectacular overtaking. Because it's so close to the East Midlands airport the track can be a little slippery on account of the burnt kerosene discharged by incoming aircraft. Fortunately, the new asphalt laid last year has improved the situation considerably."

"My best memory of this track? Last year I was on the podium - but it's the test day after the race that I remember best. After analysing the problems encountered during the race, on the Monday we got some great test results and some valuable experience under our belts."

MotoGP, 2005, BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Marco Melandri

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