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Top six result brings smiles and satisfaction for Melandri

Top six result brings smiles and satisfaction for Melandri

Stunning result and Stoner pass early season highpoints for former World Championship runner-up.

If Marco Melandri was supposed to be merely making up the numbers on the MotoGP grid in 2009, then someone forgot to tell the Italian. Little was expected of the Hayate Racing rider at Motegi after near-enough a free diary over the winter and a ride without factory support, but grit and a superb performance conspired to give him a top six finish in Japan.

Having said before the season’s start that he had ‘nothing to lose’, Melandri’s is now aiming for more than just damage limitation to his reputation as a rider.

“This can be the starting point for something good. I started well, and when (Andrea) Dovizioso made a mistake I got past him. I knew that my pace wasn’t like that of the top three, but we were keeping it consistent and we definitely had a good race.”

Melandri also couldn’t resist the chance to mention one of the highpoints of his race, a cheeky manoeuvre on the teammate who he came nowhere near to matching in his annus horribilis as a Ducati rider.

“It was fun to fight with the top guys, and the overtaking move on Stoner was greatly satisfying for me,” beamed the Italian.

Among those impressed by Melandri’s race was his Crew Chief, Andrea Dosoli.

“Marco had a very good start, and he had good confidence with the bike. Consistent lap times were strong for him, and even if we were thinking of using the softer tyres, the decision to run the harder compound worked out ok,” said the Hayate Racing team member. “We had very little track time, but the advantage for us is having Marco, who is a very good rider and someone who can help us in finding the correct setting.”

MotoGP, 2009, POLINI GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Marco Melandri, Hayate Racing Team

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