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Marco Melandri: `This win came at the right time for me´

Marco Melandri: `This win came at the right time for me´

Marco Melandri: `This win came at the right time for me´

Marco Melandri claimed his third victory of the season in a difficult race at Phillip Island in which the flag-to-flag rule had to be introduced. With 193 points, the Fortuna Honda rider is now third in the World Championship, 32 points behind leader Nicky Hayden. `It was an incredible race and it came just at the right time for me. To win at Phillip Island, (the track where I won the 250 title), in whatever conditions, is an incredible feeling´, said Melandri.

`I made a good start and got into third position on the first lap. It then started to rain and so I had to ride carefully. When it started pouring, I came into the pit-land to change the bike. It was a strange situation, like when you play on the PlayStation, because there were a lot of people in the pit-lane and it was hard to get to your own box´.

Back on the track I had to ride without forcing because it was hard to stay in control in slippery conditions. When I started to feel comfortable and increased the pace, I was able to get past Vermeulen and Gibernau. The bike and the Michelin tyres worked very well and it helped that I know the circuit so well. During the winter tests I did lots of laps here in different conditions, and knowing how things would work really helped´.

Toni Elias, who did not initially make a good start, got stronger as the race progressed. The Spaniard, a big fan of the Australian circuit, was aiming for a better result at the Australian track, but in the end had to settle for ninth position. `It was a strange race. For the first time they used the flag to flag rule which was introduced two years ago. It made things more tense and I nearly came together with Vermeulen as I went to change onto the second bike. In general, though, it was an enjoyable race´, explained Elias.

` I did not make a good start and after I had changed bikes it was difficult to get a good feeling because the rain made conditions slippery and I realised I had put on a compound that was a bit too hard. In the end I had to be content with ninth place. Now three more races to go, I hope to get a good result since we have been working hard´.

MotoGP, 2006, GMC AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Marco Melandri

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