After fighting hard in a high-paced race
The opening round of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship matched all expectations as the new 800cc machines lapped faster than the 990s and allowed for an incredible pace to be set in the Grand Prix of Qatar.
It required a
determined performance from both Team Honda Gresini riders - Marco Melandri and Toni Elias getting good starts as they moved up to fourth and fifth place.
From that point they did their best to stay in the lead group, squeezing every ounce of potential out of their bike and tyre package for the race. Melandri managed to hang on to fifth place, boosting his confidence ahead of the next round in Jerez. Elias, meanwhile, paid heavily for a mistake on lap 16 and finished back in 14th place.
MARCO MELANDRI (5th) :
“I knew I had a good race pace and I was actually hopeful of a better result than this. I got a good start and that allowed me to make up positions from the first lap. I tried to hang on to fourth place because I felt confident but we were losing time in the straight and I had to brake really late to make up time. That put a lot of stress on the front tyre and that forced me to slow down. In the second half of the race when the fuel load started to lighten the bike was more balanced and I was able to push again. The race was tough and the pace was really high.
We still have a lot of work to do – the bike is new and we need to develop it.”
TONI ELIAS (14th):
“I'm disappointed with this result because I was expecting something much better. We worked well and I got a good start but lap after lap I started to suffer. We need more consistency and have to work hard to find a good setting over race distance.”