MELANDRI TRANSFORMS HIS FORTUNES TO QUALIFY 4th
Elias recovers well after the surgery
Marco Melandri narrowly missed out on a front row start for the Dutch TT today after being edged out in the final seconds of qualifying practice by Randy De Puniet, who snatched third place by just 0.05 seconds. Series leader Casey Stoner was second fastest as Chris Vermeulen took pole position on a soaking wet track. Melandri, who struggled to find a good pace in the dry morning practice, improved his feeling in the wet this afternoon and was able to set a good pace. After ending the day as the fastest Honda rider, the Gresini Honda man is now confident for the race. The mystery factor remains the weather, with local forecasts predicting rain for the afternoon here at Assen.
Meanwhile, Melandri's team-mate Toni Elias began his recovery from a broken left femur in the Wilhelmina hospital in Assen. Surgery was completed yesterday by Dr Wiesmar in consultation by telephone with the Clinica Mobile's Dr Costa and Barcelona specialist Dr Xavier Mir. "Post-operation analysis has confirmed the success of the operation," commented Costa. "The femur bones have settled in well and Toni can now start his programme of painkillers, anti-biotics and anti-clotting medication." The Spaniard should be discharged tomorrow, when he plans to fly home to Barcelona by a medical equipped jet.
MARCO MELANDRI (4th, 1' 49"679): "We've done a great job with the team to improve the feeling of the bike in the wet and it allowed me to set a good pace. We are in good shape for a wet race but we still have some work to do in the dry so hopefully we get chance to do it in the warm-up. The weather forecast isn't clear but just in case we don't manage to sort the bike out for the dry then given the choice right now I'd prefer rain."
TONI ELIAS: "I'm better although I didn't sleep much last night because they had to wake me every two hours to administer medicine. But I don't feel too bad and I just can't wait to get home to Barcelona and start my rehabilitation as soon as possible. I want to say thanks to Doctor Costa and all the Clinica Mobile staff for their continuing support."