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Fortuna Honda take first win of 2006

Fortuna Honda take first win of 2006

Fortuna Honda take first win of 2006

Italian rider Marco Melandri took victory in the Grand Prix of Turkey for the second successive season today. After a race-long battle with a host of fellow Honda riders, Melandri emerged victorious to seal the top step on the podium – just as he had done in last year's race, his maiden MotoGP win. Marco, who started from fourteenth on the grid, rode intelligently throughout the race and after maintaining his pace until the final lap he was able to make the most of his outstanding talent to grasp the trophy every MotoGP rider wants to get his hands on.

His team-mate Toni Elías, who started from twelfth place on the grid, produced a spectacular fightback of his own, chasing reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi all the way to fifth place. The Spaniard, making his 100th Grand Prix appearance today, once again showed his enormous potential on the Honda RC211V. After a tough second day of practice, which included a wet qualifying session, both riders were able to emerge from a difficult situation in magnificent fashion. Tomorrow Marco Melandri will stay on at the Turkish track for a day of tests ahead of the next round of the season, which takes place in China in two weeks' time.

Marco Melandri

"That was a fun race! I really enjoyed myself but it wasn't easy – it was never going to be starting from fourteenth place at a circuit like this. I got a good start and that allowed me to manage the race better. The first few laps were tough but I tried to go with the front group and then had two really nice battles with Pedrosa and Stoner, two really young but strong riders. They added a really spectacular aspect to the race. At the end I decided it was time to attack Stoner and I think I made my experience count, which along with the performance of the Michelin tyres was enough for the victory. I'm so happy – to win for the second time at a circuit like Istanbul is incredible. I want to say thanks to Fortuna, Michelin and Honda and I dedicate this win to them. I'm happy but we have to keep working really hard to celebrate more success together!"

Toni Elias

"I didn't get a good start but bit by bit my rhythm improved progressively and as the laps went by and the fuel tank got lighter I got more comfortable with the bike. Together with Valentino we cut through the pack and that helped me to finish fifth. On the final lap I tried to pass him but it was impossible. I'm satisfied with the way the race turned out but I'm still not quick enough over the first few laps so I have to work on this. I want to congratulate my team-mate Marco for his great performance today."


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