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Mixed Mugello fortunes for Honda Gresini pair

Mixed Mugello fortunes for Honda Gresini pair

Marco Melandri left his home race in an unsatisfied mood after finishing ninth at the Gran Premio d'Italia Alice, whereas his Spanish Honda Gresini team-mate Toni Elias was pleased to be back amongst the points as came from 15th on the grid to finish in sixth place.

Marco Melandri left his home race in an unsatisfied mood after finishing ninth at the Gran Premio d'Italia Alice, whereas his Spanish Honda Gresini team-mate Toni Elias was pleased to be back amongst the points as came from 15th on the grid to finish in sixth place.

For Melandri, who took victory at his home Grand Prix at Mugello en route to the 250cc World title in 2002, crossing the line in ninth position in Italy represents his worst finish of the season so far – in a campaign where he has already voiced his frustration over results.

The 24 year-old rider appear to have kick started his season with his first podium appearance of 2007 at Le Mans as he secured an excellent second place finish behind Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen in the rain, and made a good start from sixth in the grid at Mugello to occupy third position in the opening laps.

But despite receiving great support from the 80,000 strong Italian crowd Melandri could not hold that position and gradually slipped back to eighth before being overtaken by Vermeulen on the final lap.

Melandri explained: "I got a good start and I was flying over the first few laps but then I started to struggle. The bike was skipping around and from being in third place I dropped back to ninth. I'm disappointed because this is a special race for me. We've had this problem to a varying degree since the start of the season and at the moment we can't come up with a solution."

On the other side of the Honda Gresini pit-box meanwhile, Melandri's colleague Elias was far happier with his day's work. After dicing with Valentino Rossi to earn only his second MotoGP podium finishing second in Turkey, Elias then crashed out in China and France - so to finish sixth at Mugello having struggled in qualifying was an excellent achievement.

After a strong race in Italy and with his home Grand Prix to come next Elias enthused: "Sixth place at Mugello is a good result, especially having started from 15th. The team did a great job and in the warm-up we took a big step forward with the set-up. I got a good start and tried to make up some positions but unfortunately the front tyre choice was a little too soft for today's track conditions and after a few laps I couldn't push as hard as I wanted to."

"I'm happy though and I'm looking forward to racing in front of my home fans in Barcelona next Sunday."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA ALICE

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