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Melandri overjoyed at maiden win

Melandri overjoyed at maiden win

Melandri overjoyed at maiden win

Marco Melandri claimed his first win since moving to the premier class in 2003 at the inaugural Grand Prix of Turkey staged at the Istanbul Park circuit last weekend. The young Italian had dictated his pace during the free practices sessions before being pipped to pole position by his Movistar Honda team-mate Sete Gibernau on Saturday afternoon. However, ‘Macio' resumed his dominance as soon as the lights went off for Sunday afternoon's 22-lap race, only conceding the lead to Sete Gibernau for a couple of laps in the early stages of the race before the Spaniard went off the track.

Melandri coped well with the pressure as Valentino Rossi stalked him throughout the race, but the World Champion was never able to get close enough to wrestle the lead from his compatriot. His maiden win in the MotoGP class allowed Melandri to move ahead of Nicky Hayden in chase for the runner-up spot and he now has a nine-point lead over the American in the championship standings.

"It was an incredible day to cap a great weekend. I can't describe my happiness," said Melandri, a former 250cc World Champion. "I have not won since Valencia in 2002, and since then I've had a difficult couple of years due to injury and misfortune. This win in the MotoGP class feels different to winning in the 250s."

"I liked this track from the first moment I tried it and the team did a great job. After dominating the free sessions I knew I could have a good race, but it's not always that easy. I got away well and even though Sete got past me I was happy to wait as we were opening up a gap on the rest. Then Sete made a mistake and I found myself on my own at the front and I just concentrated on maintaining my rhythm. I want to enjoy this moment and thank Fausto for the confidence he has shown in me, Fabrizio Cecchini, my chief mechanic and everyone at Honda and Michelin."

MotoGP, 2005, GRAND PRIX OF TURKEY, Marco Melandri

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