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Melandri seals runner-up spot with second successive win

Melandri seals runner-up spot with second successive win

Melandri seals runner-up spot with second successive win

Marco Melandri clinched his second consecutive MotoGP win in today's Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valencia, putting on an impressive performance to fend off the challenge of Nicky Hayden.

"This is an unbelievable situation for me, I can't find the words to describe how I feel," said Melandri after the race. "I started the race thinking about the championship, but I took the lead into turn one and realised I could win it. When I saw Nicky was behind I tried to escape but he was too strong. I thought about letting him pass but I know how hard it is to overtake at this circuit so in the end I stayed in front and held on."

Melandri made a good start from second on the grid to snatch the holeshot ahead of Hayden, while poleman Sete Gibernau slipped back to third. The Spaniard was to end his campaign on a low as his engine blew out on lap three.

Having qualified back in a lowly 15th, World Champion Valentino Rossi made a strong charge, making up seven places on the first lap and challenging Carlos Checa for third five laps later. By mid-race the Yamaha rider was chasing Melandri and Hayden after passing Checa, but only managed to close the gap down to a little less than three seconds.

At the front Melandri rode a flawless race despite Hayden pushing hard on his tail, but the American never got close enough to have a clear shot at the lead. With his second consecutive win Melandri consolidated second in the championship, finishing runner-up behind Rossi.

Ducati Marlboro's Carlos Checa took fourth, crossing the line more than 15 seconds behind Rossi, and was followed home by Honda veterans Alex Barros and Max Biaggi. Loris Capirossi took seventh on his comeback with Ducati having missed the last two races through injury, just ahead of Colin Edwards. Makoto Tamada and Toni Elias completed the final top ten of the season.


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