Melandri: “This year is the last chance”

melandri sixth at le mans grand prix
Monday, 24 May 2010

The Italian opted to use Showa suspension at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in a bid to improve his feeling, and the switch paid off for the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider who placed sixth.

Marco Melandri was delighted with his performance at Le Mans on Sunday as he finished in sixth position, and the improvement came after the Italian and his San Carlo Honda Gresini team decided to switch the suspension on his RC212V back to Showa for the third round race.

The 27 year-old had been using Öhlins suspension on his bike prior to Le Mans, but decided to switch back to Showa to try and improve his feeling at the circuit. The change appeared to pay off at the French track, and Melandri explained how he hopes to be able to find a permanent solution with Öhlins for the remainder of the season.

“We were very open. We put in Showa but we were very clear and clean with Öhlins,” said Melandri. “We explained my problem and for me this year is the last chance, I cannot have many bad races if I want a ride next year so they understand.”

“Öhlins has been working really hard to try and help us fix my feeling problem, but for me it was not the same as when I was riding a Honda with Showa. So we talked and tried Showa to see if my feeling was a bit better. Something was a little better this weekend, but I’m sure Öhlins can help me work with them again. Now it’s very important to have this confirmed. We will have a big meeting this week and I hope to find a better solution for everyone.”

Assessing the race, Melandri discussed how he battled hard to maintain his sixth position. He said: “It was a good race for me. It was a very difficult qualifying but the team worked really hard in the morning and to find a better set-up for the race. I had a good start but I was not very aggressive at the beginning because I didn’t have a very good feeling on the rear tyre. After a few laps when the tyre was warm the feeling was better. The track was very difficult because it was very windy today, so I was pushing a lot to try and catch Nicky, but I made a few mistakes. Next time maybe I’ll do better at catching the guys in front of me but I’m happy, and I just want to thank the team because they have been supporting me a lot.”

Melandri now heads to his home race at Mugello, where he hopes to continue his progress on the satellite Honda.

“That track is one of the best in the world,” he stated. “The surface is very bumpy but I hope there is good weather like here and I hope to be able to have a good start again and be fighting a bit more for the podium. It’s going to be very difficult I know, but I want to do that.”

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