Marco Melandri returns to the scene of his most recent MotoGP podium, a shock second place on the Hayate-Kawasaki (pictured), at Le Mans this weekend.

Indeed, the Italian considers the French track to be his strongest circuit in MotoGP and after building his confidence in the 2010 RCV with eighth at Jerez the Gresini rider is looking forward to putting up a fight this weekend.

"Things are looking much more optimistic after the last race at Jerez and I was happy with the test we did there on the Monday," said Melandri. "I think my feeling with the Honda RC212V is much better compared to the first two races and we are starting to learn about the things we need to change to improve it.

"We're heading to some circuits where we have no winter testing data so it will be more difficult for everybody to find a set-up. You also have to consider that the weather can be decisive at Le Mans so is important to find a race setting as quickly as possible in practice.

"Le Mans is traditionally my strongest circuit in MotoGP - I won there in 2006, I was on the podium in 2007 and 2009 and only just missed out in 2005 so I have lots of good memories of France.

"Naturally I'm not going to Le Mans feeling totally convinced we will come away with a great result but I feel confident that I can put up a fight, like I did at Jerez, but this time higher up the order," he declared.