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Melandri impressive on Kawasaki debut.

After a horrendous season at Ducati, Marco Melandri made an instant impact on his Kawasaki debut - during testing at Valencia on Monday - when he beat both his best race and qualifying lap on a Desmosedici, and got within 0.022sec of new team-mate John Hopkins.

The former MotoGP World Championship runner-up, who struggled from day one to adapt to the Ducati, enjoyed a much easier transition to the ZX-RR and finished the day tenth out of the 18 riders, albeit 1.3sec from former team-mate Casey Stoner.

"It's always interesting when you start working with a new rider, and I think today has been a good start both for Marco and our crew," said Melandri's new crew chief Juan Martinez.

"He's been able to lap consistently throughout today and his comments after each session have allowed us to start working out what he needs to go fast on our bike, which is very different to the one on which he finished the race yesterday.

"Sure we have some points still to improve, but overall Marco's first impression was good. His riding style seems to be well suited to the characteristics of our Ninja ZX-RR, and this means that the comments he makes should make it easier for our engineers in Japan to identify the development direction of the bike for next year.

"Marco is a guy who, in the past, has been up there and fighting for race wins, so he understands what he needs to go fast, and this is exactly what we need to take the Ninja ZX-RR to the next level of development," added the Spaniard.

Melandri and Hopkins will continue testing on Tuesday.

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The Darkside - Unregistered

October 28, 2008 11:26 AM

Bike or rider whatever, Melandri's gona bust Hopkins next year, no he's not gona be podium material but he's gona do better than hopper or west has done! he'll be glad to be off the ducati which he quite clearly hated and on to something japanese. he'll be one to watch, not for race wins (of course)but he's always been great to watch riding, E.G.(spains No.1 RCV211).

Thomas - Unregistered

October 27, 2008 9:32 PM

When I saw that bike move around under him yesterday, I thought it shure isn't for a lack of trying. Such a shame for Marco last year! I'm happy for Marco and Kawasaki that they got a good start! I hope this fires the factory up!

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