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Seventh spot scrap has Melandri motivated

Seventh spot scrap has Melandri motivated

Marco Melandri’s hopes of winning the battle for seventh place in the 2009 World Championship were increased with a good ride at Phillip Island.

Just one point separates four riders across positions seven to ten in the current MotoGP championship standings, with Marco Melandri one of those looking for a strong finish to the campaign.

The Italian rode an impressive race at the Iveco Australian Grand Prix over the weekend to take seventh position from 14th on the grid. He competed with eventual sixth-placed finisher Andrea Dovizioso early on and then duelled with Randy de Puniet for much of the contest before beating the Frenchman to the finish line by just under 0.5s.

The LCR Honda rider is one of those currently competing with Hayate’s Melandri for seventh spot in the overall positions, with Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Loris Capirossi also closely bunched with the pair. Melandri is currently tenth on 100 points, with his trio of competitors all level on 101.

“It was a very tough race,” admitted Melandri. “At the beginning we were very, very close; it was a big group and we had a fight. After a few laps it was very difficult for me to brake hard because I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike, it was very unstable and Dovizioso established an advantage. I tried to catch him back but couldn’t, and then I had a big fight with Randy. We passed each other many times and I won that battle, so it’s been good for me because I had a very bad qualifying. I hope to be fighting for seventh position in the championship.”

Next up is Sepang, and Melandri knows what to expect at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix this weekend.

“I like the track,” he said. “It’s good when we have very hot conditions because in qualifying maybe we can be a bit better. We need to have a good start and the race will be long for the riders and the tyres, so it’s not easy in Malaysia.”

MotoGP, 2009, Iveco AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Marco Melandri, Hayate Racing Team

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