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2009 season review: Marco Melandri

2009 season review: Marco Melandri

The Italian rider, who finished tenth in this season’s MotoGP World Championship, is first in the motogp.com riders’ season review series.

The lead-up to the 2009 season did not run as smoothly as Marco Melandri would have wished, with the Italian expecting to ride an official Kawasaki bike. The factory’s decision to withdraw from the MotoGP World Championship this year meant Melandri was entered as a single rider entrant with Hayate Racing, but without any guarantees of competitiveness on the Ninja ZX-RR.

Entering an important season as he aimed to recover from a tough previous year with Ducati Marlboro, the initial signs were that the 27 year-old had been largely unaffected by the pre-season change in his deal with Kawasaki. Despite a poor start in Qatar, Melandri put together a run of three strong results. Sixth and fifth in Japan and Jerez respectively were followed up by a first – and only – podium of the season in France in a race which started in wet conditions.

After his remarkable second place in the flag-to-flag contest at Le Mans in May, a stretch of four races in which Melandri made the top ten only once – at Laguna Seca – followed. At Mugello he even led the race, but a final placing of 11th was part of a series of results that was something of a dip compared to his earlier form.

Back-to-back seventh places at Donington and Sachsenring saw Melandri break his run, and at the British Grand Prix he qualified in a season’s best place of seventh on the grid.

Disappointment was next up however with consecutive crashes at Brno – a final-lap collision with Mika Kallio – and Indianapolis, where Melandri was battling with James Toseland for sixth place until he crashed out with three laps remaining.

Despite these mishaps Melandri managed three more top-ten finishes in the final five races of the campaign, even with throttle problems on his ZX-RR, but ended on a frustrating note as his acceleration issues led to 17th place in Valencia. He finished the season in 10th place when there had been real hope of winning the battle for seventh in the overall standings.

It was nevertheless an impressive effort in 2009 from the Italian in some testing circumstances. In 2010 Melandri returns to the San Carlo Honda Gresini team for whom he secured five victories with in three seasons, and finished runner-up with in the 2005 World Championship.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2009, Marco Melandri

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