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Melandri takes winning form to Valencia practice

Melandri takes winning form to Valencia practice

Melandri takes winning form to Valencia practice

Two weeks after taking his maiden MotoGP win in Turkey, Marco Melandri was back on charge today at the Ricardo Tormo track, as the Movistar Honda rider clocked the fastest lap on the first day of free practice of the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana.

Melandri lapped in 1'33.464 on Friday afternoon to conclude the day just 0.042s ahead of Ducati Marlboro's Carlos Checa, who had posted the best time in the morning's session. Checa, who is probably making his last appearance on Ducati machinery this weekend, was followed by his Spanish compatriot Sete Gibernau.

The 2003 and 2004 best runner-up will try to sign off in style as he still has to win a race this year, and Valencia appears as the perfect venue to do so as it was there that he took his first win in the premier class, back in 2001. Gibernau rode consistently throughout the day and was only 0.059s adrift from his Movistar Honda team-mate Melandri.

Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden was fourth fastest, followed by Loris Capirossi, who is back on track with the Ducati Marlboro team after missing the last two Grand Prix through injury. Capirossi finished 0.237s ahead of sixth-placed Alex Barros, who was the last rider to have lapped below the 1'34 mark today.

Valentino Rossi was the highest placed Yamaha rider but the Italian had a lacklustre day on the Yamaha Factory YZR-M1, this weekend sporting the Japanese manufacturer's red, white and black vintage paint scheme.

Honda mounted riders Max Biaggi and Makoto Tamada took eight and ninth respectively, ahead of Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards who completed the top ten.


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