Fabrizio in the top ten
Marco Melandri returned to the battle for lead positions in the German Grand Prix, making a good start from the front row to hang on to third place in pursuit of early leaders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa for twenty long laps.
looked to be on course for a certain podium but was forced to drop his pace as tyre performance decreased towards the end of the race. The Gresini Honda rider ended with a creditable sixth place, which moves him back up to fifth in the championship on 97 points, as the paddock now heads straight to the United States for the next round in just a few days' time.
There was also a good performance from Michel Fabrizio, who started from 17th on the grid but fought to the end of the race to finish eleventh.
MARCO MELANDRI (6th in the race, 5th in the championship on 97 points):
"I got a good start and tried to hang on to Stoner without risking too much. The bike was working really well but Pedrosa set an incredibly strong pace. Once I got past Stoner, about ten laps from the end, the tyres were just gone. From then on I tried to keep the pace, manage the race and even tried to get fifth place back off Casey but it was too risky. I'm happy though because we're competitive again and today I was able to fight for the podium. We've taken a big step forward here and I have to say thanks again to Honda for the new material they brought here. The engine is much sweeter and I can manage the throttle in a way that suits my style much more. I like the idea of racing again next weekend and I can't wait to get back on the bike at Laguna Seca - a track I'm sure will suit the bike and the Bridgestone tyres really well.
MICHEL FABRIZIO (10th):
"I'm happy with this result - my target was to finish in the top ten and I was close. It was a really tough race, physically very demanding and also because the pace was so fast. It's been a nice experience for me and a real bonus in what has been a hard year."
"Marco put in a great performance, I'm only disappointed because he had a really good race and could have ended up with a much better result. He passed by an opportunity because of a problem that prevented him from pushing as hard as he could have. We are happy with him though because he was one of the stars of the race today. Fabrizio has also done really well and has set some fast times in the end. I'm glad to have given him this opportunity but our thoughts are also with Toni and we are looking forward to having him back soon."