With fourth and seventh place at Misano
Honda Gresini riders Marco Melandri and Toni Elias wowed almost 60,000 fans at Misano today as they provided the entertainment in the Grand Prix of San Marino with a stunning charge through the field.
Melandri started from
twelfth on the grid but got away well and was soon up to ninth, before getting the better of Ant West, Colin Edwards and Loris Capirossi as he stormed through to fourth place - an incredible result considering his physical condition and a heavy crash yesterday morning.
His team-mate Elias produced a performance that was just as impressive, the Spaniard starting from the fifth row of the grid in fifteenth place before charging to seventh despite still suffering from the effects of a broken femur. In only his second race since sustaining the injury at Assen, Toni once again showed his determination and spirit today.
The Honda Gresini pair will be back on track at Misano tomorrow for a day of tests.
MARCO MELANDRI (4th in the race, 6th in the championship on 126 points):
"I couldn't have hoped for a better result considering my physical condition and starting position. This morning we made a few modifications during the warm-up that didn't have the effect we had hoped for so we changed a few more things and went out with an even more different setting in the race. With a good performance in the race I wanted have to apologise to the team for my mistake in practice on Friday that could have compromised our potential this weekend. The team gave me a bike that has worked well here and Bridgestone came up with the tyres. The whole package felt good and that allowed me to ride comfortably despite the physcial problems.
Once I got past West, Edwards and then Capirossi, I ended up on my own for almost the entire race. Loris was close but I kept my focus for the whole race and then pushed again over the final few laps to make sure of fourth place. This is a fun track but there aren't many places to overtake."
TONI ELIAS (7th in the race, 12th in the championship on 63 points):
"I'm satisfied with this result. This morning in the warm up we made a few improvements to the bike and that allowed me to take a step forward with my pace. I'm really tired now because the leg was so painful - especially in the second half of the race. From a physical point of view, Misano is very demanding but I stuck in the group and just tried to make up positions. Now I've got another two important weeks to rest before Estoril."