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Home return gives Melandri opportunity for redemption

Home return gives Melandri opportunity for redemption

Ducati Marlboro rider Marco Melandri returns home this weekend, although he will be hoping that the race is more `Shanghai´than `Le Mans´.

The elation of fifth place in China was replaced by disappointment in France for Marco Melandri, whose Shanghai result has been an anomalous high point for the former MotoGP World Championship runner-up this season.

The Ducati Marlboro rider has home advantage this weekend in Mugello, a track where in theory the Desmosedici GP8´s strengths have been honed to perfection by the likes of test riders Vittoriano Guareschi and Niccolo Canepa. Melandri will also have a huge following from the specially-constructed Ducati Grandstand, sure to be packed as a result of the factory´s success in 2007 and Mugello´s close proximity to their Borgo Panigale base.

`I don´t think there are many tracks in the world that are as beautiful as Mugello and I´m sure the majority of riders would agree with me. It´s not just about the atmosphere and the fans, even though it is exciting to feel their presence and to see the grandstands packed out - as I´m sure the Ducati one will be,´ says the Italian star, who knows the nuances of the track like the back of his hand.

`The track is enjoyable but demanding at the same time, with a long straight that isn't perfectly straight! That makes it difficult, then you have a mixture of slow and fast corners, with fast changes of direction - you know when you are on a good lap. You have to be quick through the chicane and make sure you have good feeling with the front in order to be fast and aggressive.

`It is a circuit the Ducati technicians know well and where I hope we can have the chance to have a good race. I´d really like to do well in front of my home fans´

Melandri took his first 125cc World Championship podium at Mugello in 1998, and holds one win at the circuit in the 250cc class. However, the closest that he has come to a rostrum in the premier class is fourth place in the 2005 Italian visit.

MotoGP, 2008, GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA ALICE, Marco Melandri, Ducati Marlboro Team

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