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Melandri relieved after improving feeling with new team

Melandri relieved after improving feeling with new team

Ending his 2008 Ducati frustrations with his move to Kawasaki Marco Melandri is already pleased with his early experiences on the 800cc Ninja ZX-RR.

Marco Melandri appeared to be immediately more comfortable on his new Kawasaki prototype than on the Desmosedici GP8 as he made his long-awaited move from the Italian factory to `Team Green´ in Monday´s post-season test at Valencia.

In contrast to his initial feeling with Ducati, on machinery he never got comfortable with in a long, hard 2008 campaign, the England-based rider felt pleased after his first contact with his new Kawasaki.

Working with his new teammate John Hopkins on improving the competitiveness of the Ninja ZX-RR ahead of the 2009 season, Melandri placed tenth on the timesheet with a decent lap time, only a fraction behind Hopkins´ pace in ninth position.

Having familiarised himself with his new bike and new crew, Melandri stated, `It has been a big change for me and it was difficult at the very beginning because the jump from a Ducati to a Japanese bike is not easy. But after that I realised that the character of the bike was very good for my riding style and we have been adapting the bike a little bit to work with the new front tyre. Overall it has been nice, I have had a lot of fun and that is what I missed last year.´

`We still have to improve as the new front tyre is not working perfectly for us at the moment,´ he continued. `However, on braking points and corner entry I already feel better than last year, though we still have to improve the settings for corner speed. Anyway, we know what to do, the whole Kawasaki team is very motivated and I feel very at home right now.´

Melandri´s new crew chief Juan Martinez declared, `It´s always interesting when you start working with a new rider, and I think today has been a good start both for Marco and our crew. He´s been able to lap consistently throughout today and his comments after each session have allowed us to start working out what he needs to go fast on our bike, which is very different to the one on which he finished the race yesterday. Sure we have some points still to improve, but overall Marco´s first impression was good.´

`His riding style seems to be well suited to the characteristics of our Ninja ZX-RR, and this means that the comments he makes should make it easier for our engineers in Japan to identify the development direction of the bike for next year. Marco is a guy who, in the past, has been up there and fighting for race wins, so he understands what he needs to go fast, and this is exactly what we need to take the Ninja ZX-RR to the next level of development.´

MotoGP, 2008, Marco Melandri, Kawasaki Racing Team

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