Shanghai : Gresini Honda – Day One
The fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship promises to be a close affair after fourteen riders lapped within just 0.9 seconds at the Shanghai International Circuit today on the first day of the Grand Prix of China.
Melandri made a great start to the weekend, using his base setting from test session after Turkey GP to find an immediate feeling with his Honda at another of the circuits designed by German architect Herman Tilke. Marco is happy with the work he's completed and is confident of making the most of his qualifying tyre to secure a top position on the grid.
Toni Elias also remains confident, if not particularly satisfied, after lapping 14th fastest today, just nine tenths of a second off pace setter John Hopkins. The Spaniard also plans to return to his base setting from Turkey and save his best tyre from today, so that he can get the most out of it tomorrow and on Sunday in the race.
The weather forecast for tomorrow promises rain, leaving the Honda Gresini facing a waiting game to see whether they can further adapt the setting of their RC212V machines to the demands of Shanghai.
MARCO MELANDRI (2nd, 2'01"204): "I'm satisfied with this result. We started out with the base we found during the test on the day after the race in Turkey and the feeling was good straight away. The bike is working well and I've rediscovered my feeling with the front. I'm happy because I'm having fun on the bike again. I'm also confident about the tyre choice.
Today I tried the different options available to us and I'm hopeful of making the most of the qualifying tyre tomorrow to make sure of a good position on the grid. I have to stay focused and improve my own performance on the qualifying tyre. We're all very close so it looks like being a tight and combative race."
TONI ELIAS (14th,2'02"114): "I can't say I'm happy. We still have a lot of work to do but we're not that far off where we need to be. Today we did some tests with the setting, which didn't give the desired results, so tomorrow we'll go back to the base from Turkey. We've worked out which is the best tyre for the race so we're saving that for tomorrow and Sunday. I just hope that practice is in the dry tomorrow so that we can continue working on the bike."