Marco Melandri is heading into the 2013 World Superbike Championship opener with high hopes after a competitive two days of testing at Phillip Island, even if he is concerned his worrisome shoulder injury will hamper his progress this weekend.
The Italian comes into the season keen to build on the six wins he achieved with BMW in 2012, Melandri proving immediately back up to speed on the revised GoldBet-backed machine as he rarely ventured outside the top five throughout the two days.
However, while Melandri was pleased with the bike's overall pace, he feels the S1000RR is still struggling in terms of tyre wear, while the man himself is concerned about a shoulder injury that has persisted since the end of the 2012 season.
“The Phillip Island track is really awesome, it is challenging, fast and flowing. One thing that makes Phillip Island so special is the atmosphere – and I love these fast corners. The new tarmac is quite difficult for the tyre and for us riders it is not easy to understand how the grip is.
“We had two days of testing with all weather conditions. With the cooler temperatures the track was faster than yesterday and it was easier to ride as the wind was not so strong.
“In these two days of testing we completed a lot of work with our RR. In general I am quite happy with the bike and we have a good base for the first race weekend. But we have more work to do in two areas where we are still struggling. We still have issues with tyre wear and we need to improve that for the races.
“The second issue is that we're experiencing chatter, similar to last year's race weekend at Phillip Island. We are working on solving that. Unfortunately my shoulder is still causing me difficulties, and I still feel pain. I hope that I will feel better on the race weekend.”
Melandri scored a podium on his BMW debut at Phillip Island last season.