Former 250 World Champion Marco Melandri had a dazzling start to his first MotoGP season with Honda, finishing inside the top four at the first seven races, including four podium finishes.

But the final three races before the midseason break were tougher - the Italian youngster tumbled out of the US and British GPs and was just seventh in Germany.

Now he aims to get his campaign back on track at Brno after a summer break which included DJing at his own 23rd Birthday party (Melandri is a keen trance DJ) and holidaying on the Greek island of Mykonos.

"Brno is a great track, one of the few where you can get a MotoGP bike wide open in a lot of different places," said Marco, who won the 2002 Czech 250 GP and reckons you need a 250 technique at this track. "With MotoGP bikes you can spin the rear whenever and wherever you want, but you need to be smooth at Brno, you need to maintain your momentum through the fast turns, so you use a 250-type riding style."

But Melandri's main concern this weekend will be the state of the Brno tarmac, which hasn't been resurfaced for some years.

"I hear it's a lot bumpier than last year because they've run GT cars and trucks there in recent months," he revealed. "The bumps don't help, of course, especially since they can cause chatter.

"But it seems to me that you only really get chatter if your bike's engine-braking settings aren't correct. When the engine braking isn't right, you get a lot of chatter which can come from the rear of the bike to the front," disclosed the #33, highlighting a problem that has effected Max Biaggi all season long.

The last three GPs have confirmed Melandri's opinion that the road to MotoGP success isn't easy and - while some people were already calling him the 'next Rossi' after his impressive start to 2005 - the 23-year-old has never been under any illusions.

"My goal at the start of this year was just to get experience and learn the bike, race by race," he said. "I still need to improve and I want to win a race this year but I can't say that I will. No one will hand a victory to me as a present, that's for sure!"

Melandri is currently second in the 2005 MotoGP World Championship standings, 120-points down on Rossi and just 1-point in front of Sete Gibernau.

 

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