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Simoncelli prepares for Jerez challenge with short Japan trip

Simoncelli prepares for Jerez challenge with short Japan trip

Despite the postponement of the Grand Prix of Japan the MotoGP rookie still made it to East Asia for a short trip to work alongside HRC ahead of the second round in Spain.

Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli are under no illusions as to the importance of the upcoming Gran Premio bwin de España this weekend, a race at which both riders will want to improve on their respective opening round results in Qatar. Both enjoyed strong races at the Spanish circuit last year, Simoncelli getting on the podium in the 250cc category and Melandri finishing fifth after a fine ride in the premier class.

For Simoncelli it will also be a return to the venue of his first World Championship win, in the 125cc class in 2004, and the tall Italian will be aiming for an increased level on confidence on board the RC212V of the San Carlo Honda Gresini team.

Despite the postponement of the Grand Prix of Japan which was due to take place last weekend, Simoncelli still managed to make it to the Far East to undergo some aerodynamic developments on his bike which further underlined the commitment of both the team and HRC in working together to achieve results.

"Honestly, I was a little disappointed about the postponement of the Motegi round because I was keen to go racing again but to have an extra week to prepare for Jerez is also good,” said Simoncelli. “I actually went to Japan anyway because we had some wind tunnel tests that had been planned for a while. We were able to test a few modifications that should allow us to make some aerodynamic improvements for straight-line speed. It won‘t make a dramatic difference but like everything it is a case of taking a small but useful step forward.”

Hopeful that the benefits will be seen at Jerez, Simoncelli is looking forward to racing at the Andalusian circuit where he wants to improve on his finish of 11th at Losail. He added: “Jerez is a circuit I like, where I won my first race and where I have always been able to go fast so I hope that remains the case this year. We go to Jerez with the set target of improving on our performance in Qatar.”

On the other side of the Gresini garage Melandri will also be seeking a step up as he tries a variety of technical solutions to try and improve on his finish of 13th in Qatar. Both he and the team are confident they can find the required level to challenge for a much higher position at Jerez.

"Having done as badly as it was possible to do in Qatar we‘re hoping for a positive reaction at Jerez,” said the Italian. “The postponement of the Grand Prix of Japan was definitely a good thing for us because it has given us more time to reflect and make important technical preparations. Over the past two weeks the team have been working hard alongside Honda and there will be some new things for me at Jerez that should help me find a better feeling with the front. In Qatar I was struggling to control the bike under braking and in corner entry, and when that happens it ruins everything else. If we can find a feeling for the front then we‘ll have a base from which to work on the rest of the bike.”

Melandri continued: “Obviously we have to confirm everything when we get out on the track but I‘m confident and to have the chance to work on everything in good conditions at a circuit I like is important. I had my best race of the season at Jerez in the dry last year. It is a track where you need to have a good feeling with the bike to ride well because you switch from fast corners to really slow ones so you need good feedback from the front to commit to them, especially the fast ones. My best memory of Jerez is my podium there in 2005, a season that was really important for my MotoGP career."

MotoGP, 2010, GRAN PREMIO bwin DE ESPAÑA, Marco Simoncelli, Marco Melandri, San Carlo Honda Gresini

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