Melandri Needs Kawasaki Changes to find True Potential

Marco Melandri testing in Qatar
Marco Melandri testing in Qatar

Qatar test gives former MotoGP World Championship runner-up base set-up for new bike.

With a new bike and the least testing time of all the MotoGP riders, it was almost inevitable that Marco Melandri would be part of the trailing pack at the Qatar night sessions as he got acquainted with the Hayate Racing machine. The Italian propped up the timesheet at the conclusion of the three-night test, three seconds down on former teammate Casey Stoner, although it would be deceiving to read too much into the time discrepancy.

Stoner was a second in front of any other rider, whilst the difference between Melandri and fourth-placed Chris Vermeulen was just over 1.5 seconds. His 1’58.851 time is a point on which to build at his next expected test in Jerez and race return at the Losail circuit.

“It was an ok three days. We are pretty far away with the rear grip and traction, so we really have to improve and make some big changes to understand our true potential,” reviewed Melandri on his first test of 2009.

“Right now we’re not 100%, so we have to work a lot to find out how close we really are to the other competitors.”

Melandri’s participation in the Qatar test was only confirmed shortly before it’s commencement, with the Hayate structure hastily put in place for the event.