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A black Sunday for Movistar Honda

A black Sunday for Movistar Honda

A black Sunday for Movistar Honda

The Japanese GP was an event to forget for Movistar Honda riders Marco Melandri and Sete Gibernau. Melandri made a blazing start to seize the lead on the first lap, but, before the mid-race mark, he had slipped back to third behind Max Biaggi and Loris Capirossi. He was then put under pressure by defending world champion Valentino Rossi, and as the battle for third intensified, the pair clashed with Rossi hitting his compatriot from behind.

Following the crash Melandri sustained damage to his right heel. A fracture and serious injury were ruled out, but he was taken to the Dokkyo Hospital for further medical tests. A couple of laps before this incident, his team-mate Sete Gibernau crashed out when chasing Carlos Checa on the 11th lap – it was the fifth DNF for the Spaniard in the twelve rounds so far this year.

Team manager Fausto Gresini was clearly disappointed about the outcome of the race: "Another disastrous day for the team, with crashes for both riders and injuries to Marco. We still don't know the extent of the injury, or whether he will be fit to race next week. I am gutted because I thought both riders worked well for this race and we had hoped for a much different result."


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