French GP: Gresini Racing race report

MELANDRI MAKES TOP SIX RETURN AT LE MANS, TOP TEN FOR SIMONCELLI Marco Melandri returned to the sharp end of the MotoGP field with a hard-earned sixth place at Le Mans today. Despite some difficulties in qualifying yesterday his crew came up...

MELANDRI MAKES TOP SIX RETURN AT LE MANS, TOP TEN FOR SIMONCELLI

Marco Melandri returned to the sharp end of the MotoGP field with a hard-earned sixth place at Le Mans today. Despite some difficulties in qualifying yesterday his crew came up with some solutions in this morning's warm-up that allowed the Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider to seal an encouraging result. There were mixed feelings for his team-mate Marco Simoncelli, who battled hard in the mid-pack throughout the race only to lose two places on the final two laps.

Marco Melandri (6th) "I was pretty sure we'd have a better pace today than we did in practice and that proved to be the case. We made a small change in the warm-up based on an idea that the team came up with and it worked well. Unfortunately it was quite windy today and I struggled in a few corners where we didn't have a perfect setting for the engine braking. I'm happy though because we were able to match the speed of the front guys at the start until I made a small mistake when Hayden stepped up the pace. I tried to catch him again but I couldn't do it and decided that was a good time to 'pull the oars in' and bring home an important result after such a tough start to the year. It was a good race for us and I'm happy for myself and the team."

Marco Simoncelli (10th) "I gave my maximum and wasn't too far off today but it was a tough race because I was struggling more with the bike than yesterday. I'm a little disappointed that I allowed Barbera and Espargaro to pass me on the last couple of laps because it would have been nice to finish eighth but it didn't happen. It is important at this stage for me to finish races and I managed that today even though I wasn't as fast as I'd hoped so that's a positive thing. Now we'll assess things and try to do better at Mugello. "

Fausto Gresini "It was a good day for us as a team because we've seen Melandri back on the pace with a good sixth place and Simoncelli finishing tenth after lapping in eighth for much of the race. It was a shame that he lost two positions in the final stages but once again he demonstrated the progress he is making. Melandri was consistent and he set a strong pace at the start, chasing the leaders, before securing an important result that moves him up the championship. We obviously have to keep working to take another step forward and try to be more competitive. There is certainly no shortage of motivation amongst the team and we are desperate to pay back Honda and San Carlo for the belief they have shown in us with some good results. "

-source: gresini racing

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Marco Melandri , Marco Simoncelli