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Melandri lifts the spirits at Movistar Honda

Melandri lifts the spirits at Movistar Honda

Melandri lifts the spirits at Movistar Honda

One year after Sete Gibernaus last GP win, the Movistar Honda team was back on top form at Losail for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar, but today Marco Melandri was the man to take the battle to Valentino Rossi in an incredible finale.

The Italian, who has made an amazing recovery from his foot injury over the past thirteen days, produced his best performance of the season so far and only yielded to the World Champion three corners from the end, when he ran wide when making a final push for victory.

That was the best race of the season for me, said Melandri. I felt good after practice yesterday, the bike was ready and we did a great job with Michelin. I didn´t get a good start in the race, I took it calmly for the first few laps and lost a bit of time as I made up positions. I passed Edwards and Hayden to catch up with the leaders, the bike was running perfectly and my only thought was to finish on the podium. I tried to pass Valentino on the last lap but I made a mistake and ran off track. Despite that it was an incredible race and I´m really pleased to be back on the podium after a tough couple of weeks with the injury. Now I´m third in the championship and the fight for second is still on.

Up until five laps from the end Sete Gibernau looked on course for a certain victory. The Spaniard led the race from the start and at one point held a one second advantage over the chasing group, which included Melandri, Rossi, Hayden and Edwards. However, as he held off a challenge for the lead from his own team-mate, he ran into the gravel and returned to the race in fifth place.

Once again we´ve had a great race without the final result we deserved, commented Gibernau. I led the race until Marco came in a little aggressive and I had to run off my line. But it´s no use complaining; we´re doing some things well and some things badly. We´re leading races regularly but for one reason or another we haven´t been able to finish them off. But we can´t keep talking about bad luck - the unlucky guy is the one who never gets to run at the front at all. I still think things will change.

MotoGP, 2005, MARLBORO GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Marco Melandri

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