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Melandri problems go from back to front

Melandri problems go from back to front

Steady improvements for Italian in Phillip Island as he looks to correct Kawasaki front end feeling deficit.

Marco Melandri´s difficulties from 2008 have changed with a switch in bike, with the lack of rear feeling that he experienced with the Ducati Desmosedici GP8 mimicked by the front end of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR. Luckily for the Italian, persistence in `Team Green´s three-day test at Phillip Island has already seen him reduce his race time from this year´s Australian race, despite rain on the second day of testing.

Melandri worked overnight with his crew and Kawasaki´s suspension engineers in order to find some improvement on the front, with reasonable success coming as a result. Aiming for times in the low 1´31s, the former MotoGP World Championship runner-up clocked a quickest lap of 1´31.8 before rain and wind cut the day´s activities short.

A small setback for Melandri occurred late on with a small crash at turn four, leaving his machine in need of a rebuild before the final day of testing `Down Under´.

Whilst teammate John Hopkins focused on tyre evaluation work for Bridgestone, Melandri got his hands on the new chassis previously debuted by Olivier Jacque on Wednesday. Jacque himself improved his time from the opening day, recording a 1´32.1 lap, but noted that progress was not coming as fast as expected.

`We´ve not really improved our lap time as much as we would have liked, but we have tried many different set-up changes, with a focus on the chassis geometry. The wind was also a big problem today as it was very strong and changed direction from morning to afternoon,´ said the Kawasaki test rider on Thursday. `I´m not sure how much this affects our bike in terms of set-up, but it was very noticeable out on track.´

All three riders will be back on track on Friday for a final day of action, with data being sent to Japan for evaluation over the winter.

MotoGP, 2008, Marco Melandri, Kawasaki Racing Team

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