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Melandri puts testing performances down to race pace focus

Melandri puts testing performances down to race pace focus

A cursory glance at recent testing timesheets shows a sharp contrast in results for Ducati Marlboro's two young stars.

A cursory glance at recent testing timesheets shows a sharp contrast in results for Ducati Marlboro's two young stars.

Whilst the Italian team's reigning World Champion Casey Stoner has been in fine form in the run-up to his title defending season, newcomer Marco Melandri has often featured lower down the order as he gets familiar with the Desmosedici GP8.

The former 250cc champion has been taking a thorough approach to understanding his new machine and, despite admitting that there is room for improvement, sees no cause for concern heading into his sixth season of premier class competition.

"I'm ready to start racing, in fact to be honest I can't wait!" says an expectant Melandri, who has a best placing in Qatar of second at the 2005 race.

"We've worked hard over the winter to try and improve my feeling with the bike and even though we still have work to do I feel better now. I actually think that our potential is much higher than we've shown up to now, also because in all of the tests we have done we've concentrated on finding a race setting on race tyres, not just one fast lap," he adds, noting the testing tradition of a late session flurry of qualifying tyre runs not always undertaken by the factory rider.

"It is true that we are still lacking in some areas, but we're ready and prepared to work hard to improve. In Qatar we'll be racing at night for the first time and I think it will be very exciting, even though it will be an even tougher GP than usual for us riders, especially because of the low temperature."

Also unfazed by overall lap times is Melandri's Project Director at Ducati Marlboro, Livio Suppo, who reminds onlookers that his charge is in good company with a not immediate adaptation to the peculiarities of the Desmosedici.

"He has preferred not to push too hard and to work around the clock with his new team to completely understand the characteristics of his new bike - we shouldn't forget that Casey also struggled a little at the start to understand how to make the most out of the potential of his Ducati," comments Suppo.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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