After suffering one of the worst MotoGP class debut's in history when he broke his leg on day one at Suzuka, Marco Melandri has impressed onlookers with his early comeback and subsequent rides so far this year.

He missed two races due to his Japanese injury, his return has seen him finish all four of the ensuing races, including the Catalunya Grand Prix two weeks ago when he finished thirteenth.

The young Italian sets himself high standards and is frustrated at the time it's taking to make the change from the 250cc class, where he won the world championship last year, to the premier class.

"I won my first ever race in Assen on a 125 bike when I was fifteen years old in1998 and I remember it like it was yesterday," recalled Melandri, now twenty. "It's strange to explain how I felt then but it was a great day for me. When I go back to Assen I always remember that first win. I didn't have such a good race there the following year but anyway I always try to just concentrate on the race I am going to, and I know that things will be completely different there this year with the M1.

"It might not be too easy there this time as there are lots of places you can go wide open, and there are many corners," he added. "I had some problems at the Catalunya Grand Prix, as it was really difficult to get good traction. There is such a high competition between the top riders now, especially the Italian riders. It would be great if I could reach the same level as them soon and make it a four-way Italian battle!

"I hope to have a good race in Assen this year - to have a better feeling with the bike and to feel less tired, which I think is a side effect of the accident I had in Suzuka," he revealed. "I want to perform better at every race this year and to improve my results so I am in amongst the top riders, that's my aim. Every rider is so fast though but I have to keep that as my goal, and improve race by race."

"We are still looking to make Marco more comfortable on the bike and we're hoping that Assen might provide the possibility to find a good solution for him," said team director Davide Brivio. "The main problem he has at the moment is to get rear traction.

"He is of course still adapting to the MotoGP class generally, and has ridden in two races less than the others this year. He won his first race at Assen so you never know, it might be the place where he gets his best MotoGP result so far. We know that it's going to take time, so Assen is just the next step," added the Italian.