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WSBK Assen: Melandri expecting ‘open’ race
24 April 2013
Marco Melandri says he cannot afford to discount any riders from mounting a victory challenge at Assen following a swing of momentum between manufacturers during the opening rounds in Australia and Spain.
Though yet to taste the winners' champagne this year, pre-season title favourite Melandri has twice made the podium despite his lingering shoulder problems, an issue the Italian is confident won't cause him continued woe in the Netherlands.
Instead, he expects his biggest challenge to be getting on terms with his rivals following a particularly strong performance for Aprilia, Kawasaki and his BMW team-mate Chaz Davies at Aragon two weeks' ago.
“My shoulder was feeling ok in Aragón for most of the weekend. Only towards the end of race two did I start struggling. The shoulder was a bit inflamed so to compensate I stressed the other arm more and as a result I got some cramps. Anyhow, I am quite calm because I have enough time until the next race to cure the inflammation. In the meantime I am continuing with physiotherapy and training in order to be fit in Assen.
“Assen is a nice track and I feel really comfortable there, even if I prefer the old layout which was wider. What really concerns me is the weather. Last year we weren't lucky with it, so I hope this time it will be good and not too cold. The best thing in World Superbikes is the fact that balances are constantly changing.
“In Australia, it seemed that Aprilia was unbeatable. Then in Aragón, it changed. For Assen I expect an open race, with Aprilia, Kawasaki and Chaz being very fast. I feel better and I am improving my feeling with the bike. I am quite optimistic that we will not have the same issues as in Aragón.”