Italian GP: Gresini Racing Saturday notes

SECOND ROW START FOR MELANDRI AT HOME GP Bad weather continued to dominate proceedings on the second day of the Grand Prix of Italy. Rain began to fall at lunchtime and once again made life difficult for the riders in the afternoon session,...

SECOND ROW START FOR MELANDRI AT HOME GP

Bad weather continued to dominate proceedings on the second day of the Grand Prix of Italy. Rain began to fall at lunchtime and once again made life difficult for the riders in the afternoon session, when the grid positions were decided for tomorrow's race. Intermittent showers and sunshine meant the track conditions were constantly changing throughout the hour-long qualifying practice, at one point leaving some sections of the circuit dry and others wet.

Marco Melandri combined bravery and skill to judge the conditions well and qualify as the fastest Honda rider. The Italian will start from the second row of the grid after qualifying sixth fastest and he is confident of his chances in his home race after lapping well in both wet and dry conditions.

His team-mate Toni Elias struggled in the dry conditions during this morning's free practice and was unable to improve his set-up once the rain hit in the afternoon. The Spaniard is facing a tough challenge tomorrow from the fifth row.

MARCO MELANDRI (6th, 2'02"001): "That was a really difficult session with so many changes in the conditions. They were changing from lap to lap and at the end the track was half dry and half wet but I'm happy to have qualified on the second row for my home Grand Prix. I feel totally ready for the race, whether it is wet or dry. I set a good pace this morning and my feeling in the wet is also better -- mainly thanks to the experience we gathered in the Le Mans test. Honda are helping us a lot and the tyres are also really good. We'll obviously have to wait until tomorrow before we make our tyre choice with such an uncertain weather forecast."

TONI ELIAS (15th, 2'05"592): "It has been a difficult day and we've run into problems in the wet and in the dry. This morning in the dry we suffered from chattering and I wasn't able to improve that in the afternoon because of the rain. Tomorrow I'll have to start from the fifth row and it will be a tough race for me but I'll try to get a good start and make some positions up."

FAUSTO GRESINI: "My compliments go to Marco because he judged the conditions really well in a difficult session. He only just missed out on the front row but the second row is a good starting position for the race. Toni has struggled today but hopefully we can help him improve in the warm-up."

-credit: gr

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