Twenty-one-year old MotoGP rider Marco Melandri is back on the road to recovery after a two-and-a-half-hour operation to his right shoulder yesterday. The surgery, performed by Dr. Giuseppe Porcellini at the "Villa Serena" surgery in Forli, Italy, served a double purpose. Firstly, to repair the damage caused by Melandri's shoulder dislocation which he suffered when he fell during the Australian Grand Prix over a week ago, and secondly to repair Melandri's collarbone, which he damaged during a winter test in Portugal earlier this year. After consultation with Melandri and the team it was agreed that it made sense for Melandri to undergo surgery now so as not to risk further injury and to ensure a full recovery in time for the 2004 pre-season testing in January.

According to Doctor Costa, MotoGP's Clinica Mobile doctor, the operation went smoothly and Melandri is already doing well. Costa confirmed that the rider should be ready to start a course of physiotherapy within 21 days, and to return to riding by January if everything goes according to plan.

Just hours after his operation, Melandri was already able to chat to friends and family members. Then today, after an uninterrupted sleep he was able to sit up in his hospital bed and eat by himself, and is due to have his drip removed this evening. Tomorrow Melandri will have an X-ray to confirm whether he will be allowed to go to his family home to convalesce.

Melandri commented from his hospital bed today, "All things considered, I feel alright. Compared to last time I had a similar operation on my other shoulder, at this stage after surgery I feel calmer and I'm more wide awake. I know that it will be painful for a while longer but according to the doctors, the operation went well and my recovery is going fine. I'm sure I made the right choice with Yamaha to have this done now. It's likely that I'll go back to my family's home tomorrow and I think that will be enough to keep me smiling!"

Norick Abe will replace Melandri riding the YZR-M1 in the Fortuna Yamaha Team at the Valencia Grand Prix in Spain this weekend.

-fyt-