Returning to the fray for the first time since his Suzuka practice crash, where he suffered a double fracture of his ankle and a small chipped fracture of the femur in the high-speed crash, Marco Melandri approached today's opening qualifier progressively in an effort to build up his momentum without the risk of aggravating his recent injury.

The young Italian suffered some discomfort while riding the factory YZR-M1 and felt that he lacked the physical strength to attack the circuit in the same aggressive manner he did during pre-season tests, held earlier this year. However Melandri was still in an upbeat mood at the end of the session.

"I don't feel too bad but I got quite a bit of back pain in the last 15 minutes of the session," said the 250cc World Champion. "I have felt some back pain before now since my accident but it feels sore today after all the riding I have done, although it was fine this morning.

"I am having difficult riding because normally I use the rear brake a lot but I cannot do that now when I enter the corners so I had to modify my style a little bit. I am going to go to the Clinica Mobile for some treatment now and hopefully I will feel better tomorrow. The track feels more slippery as well which doesn't help - the asphalt is so hot compared to when we tested here in the winter."

"Marco was feeling some pain during the practice and is now going back to the Clinica Mobile. Hopefully he will be feeling better by tomorrow. We asked Marco not to push too hard today and the same for tomorrow. We need to make sure that he doesn't push himself too hard now as there are many races left in the season," commented Fortuna Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio.