CONTRASTING FORTUNES FOR SIMONCELLI AND MELANDRI ON OPENING NIGHT IN QATAR
The 62nd edition of the MotoGP World Championship got underway beneath the floodlights of Losail tonight, with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini riders Marco Simoncelli and Marco Melandri contesting the first
free practice session of 2010 with differing fortunes. Super Sic put the stresses of preseason testing behind him and improved his feeling with the Honda, with confidence high of further improvements tomorrow. Changes made to the base setting found in the final test proved positive and more are planned along the same lines tomorrow. On the flip side Melandri worked on a geometry setting that didn't have the desired effect and he will be looking to make up ground tomorrow in search of a position that better reflects his true potential and that of the bike.
Marco Simoncelli (14th - 1' 57" 535) "I have to say that I'm happy because we picked up from where we left off at the last test and the changes we made weren't bad, the bike felt better. I actually feel more concentrated with the pressure of an hour-long session than over eight hours of a test so that's helped too. I did my best time on a tyre with 23 laps on it so that is another positive sign. I think that if we can get some laps in behind some other riders and make the changes we have planned to the bike we can make another step forward tomorrow. My objective is to be in the top ten and I think on the basis of today it is within reach."
Marco Melandri (16th - 1' 58" 035) "That was a very negative session for us. Unfortunately we should have tried different geometry settings on the two bikes but I decided I wanted the same geometry on both so that I could focus on other areas of the set-up and it just wasn't as good a base as in the winter test. We made a bad start to the session and things only got worse so it was a waste of an hour. Tomorrow we have to try and make up for lost time."
Fausto Gresini "It definitely wasn't an easy session but with Simoncelli we have made an important step forward considering that his best lap was on a tyre with 23 laps on it. We tried a few technical modifications that allowed him to improve and even though we know there is a long way to go it is a small step in the right direction and that gives the whole team a boost. Tomorrow we will try to make another step with Simoncelli but for today at least I am pleased. Things went much worse for Melandri, who had problems and we were unable to find a way to resolve them. Naturally we will make some big changes tomorrow and I'm sure that with this bike he can go much faster, as other riders are doing on the same machinery. We have to stay focused and work hard to achieve better results. "