Marco Melandri insists he intentionally held back during his first World Superbike group test at Portimao in an effort to not aggravate his recently-operated on shoulder.
Though there were concerns that Melandri would be forced to miss the test after going under the knife in late December, the Yamaha rider was out on track to go up against his new WSBK rivals for the first time in Portugal.
However, unlike each rider taking part in the test, Melandri had never previously competed at Portimao, which coupled to his shoulder complaint, prompted a slow start for the Italian.
Even so, Melandri maintains he wasn't 'pushing very hard', claiming it was more important for him to build on his test mileage, rather than chase fast times.
“I'm very happy with the results of this test,” said former MotoGP man Melandri, who would emerge with the 15th fastest time overall. “It was very important for me so soon after my shoulder operation to be careful and take it easy on the bike.
“I came here to focus on seeing the track and learning it along with some more time on the bike. We haven't pushed very hard at all but I'm feeling very comfortable on it despite the discomfort of the shoulder.
“We seemed to find a very good wet set up very easily and I was surprised how easy it was to go fast. I'm looking forward now to getting to Australia, I've been training really hard to get back to full fitness so I am looking forward to being fully fit and really going for it and pushing.”