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New leader Melandri vows to keep pushing
26 August 2012
Marco Melandri insists he won't adopt a new approach for final three rounds of the 2012 World Superbike Championship despite moving into the lead of the standings for the first time at the Moscow Raceway.
The Italian has been on the ascendency since Motorland Aragon when he began to make in-roads on Max Biaggi's seemingly healthy 48 point lead, the BMW rider out-scoring his countryman in the following two events to put himself just 10.5 points adrift coming into the Russian event.
Having out-performed Biaggi in the run up to the races, Melandri looked poised to take over from his rival, but was made to work hard in the first race when a wasp sting in the early stages dropped him into the clutches of the Aprilia rider.
Nonetheless, Melandri came on strong in the closing laps to cross the line in second place, though the high attrition rate – and a few team orders - would still allow Biaggi stand alongside him on the podium in third.
With a newly reduced 6.5 point margin to target, Melandri set about going one better in race two, an objective he fulfilled when he caught and passed Tom Sykes on lap 15 before cruising to the chequered flag.
With Biaggi proceeding to crash out of contention, Melandri's sixth win of the season means he leaps 18.5 points ahead in the standings with three rounds and six races remaining.
Thrilled with another breakthrough weekend for BMW (it is the first time the manufacturer has led both championships at the same time), Melandri nonetheless maintains he will continue pushing hard for wins in the remaining races.
“It is an unbelievable day. To win here at the first ever round of the Championship in this country is something special and I am just very, very happy. This morning it was cloudy and raining a little bit, so it was not easy. Race one was very tough at the beginning with the slick tyre in the wet and the fact that a wasp stung my leg made it even more difficult.
“It was a very tough race and to finish second was like a win for me. For race two the team made a small modification to the bike and I felt very good from the first lap. Once I saw Biaggi was out I understood I had the chance to try to get a win and I did. I was worried a little bit about my rear tyre, but it worked perfectly with my BMW. The team once more did a great job. Thanks to everyone.
“We are now leading the Rider's Championship but we take it race by race. We have no time to think about defending our lead, because six races are a lot and anything can still happen. We have to stay focused and work hard and if I have the chance to fight for a win I will try to get it. For me it is important to have fun at every race and I cannot race without trying to do my best.
“Overall I am so happy. We had some bad luck in the past, but now we are working very well but you never know what will happen in the last races. I also want to thank the Clinica Mobile. They helped me a lot, not only with the sting but also with the back problem I had all weekend.”
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