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Melandri set for provisional Misano return

Melandri set for provisional Misano return

An absentee from all but the first free practice session at Brno, Marco Melandri is travelling to Misano fully expecting to participate in this weekend's race.

An absentee from all but the first free practice session at Brno, Marco Melandri is travelling to Misano fully expecting to participate in this weekend's race. The Italian insists that he will not really know how much the neck injury incurred in the Czech Republic has healed up until he gets back on the Honda RC212V, but is hopeful of race fitness after a summer of injury problems.

"The medical checks after Brno confirmed a discal hernia between the fifth and sixth vertebrae, but luckily the need for surgery was ruled out," assesses Melandri. "I need more rest and physiotherapy right up until the eve of the Grand Prix. The situation is better compared to Brno but I know that I am running out of time. For me it will be a physically challenging race after the problems I had at Brno. I'll have to see how it is when I get on the bike on Friday but I'm hoping to be fit."

"I just hope to be in good shape for the race because this is a special Grand Prix for my team. As a circuit Misano has changed a lot from the one that we knew: there are some new sections and they are running it in the opposite direction so it's like a completely new track. The best place to overtake? Under braking at Quercia! It won't be easy to pass though because there are at least four first gear corners. To have a second race in Italy as well as the traditional race at Mugello is a privilege for the Italian riders. Racing in front of our fans is an incredible feeling!" concludes the Honda satellite rider, who attended a motorcross event last week in the UK in between rehabilitation sessions.

Equally ‘banged up' is Melandri's team-mate Toni Elias, who is still far from completely healed from a fractured femur. The Spaniard skipped testing after the race in the Czech Republic to rest and undertake more recovery work in Barcelona, and believes that an extra fortnight could prove a big aid to his condition.

"Soon after my crash at Assen I set my comeback target for Brno. I worked hard, eight hours a day, and made it back at around 60% fitness. I took the weekend as a kind of test and it was tough but with another two weeks of rehab behind me I feel more confident now. I've still got a lot of work to do, of course, but I feel calm," explains Elias.

"At Brno we received some updates for the chassis, exhaust and engine. Unfortunately, because of my physical condition, I wasn't able to make the most of them. I'm happy to be racing at Misano, my team's home circuit. During the week before Brno I had the opportunity to complete a couple of laps there on a street bike to test out my physical condition before tackling the GP in the Czech Republic. It is an interesting circuit but also difficult."

Both riders will be looking to do their team proud, with their headquarters just a stones throw away and team owner Fausto Gresini being a previous race winner at Misano.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GP CINZANO DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI, Marco Melandri

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