Turkish GP: Gresini Honda Friday notes

ELIAS ON TARGET FOR FRONT ROW AS MELANDRI MAKES OPTIMISTIC START After a three-week break the MotoGP engines fired up once again today at the Istanbul Park circuit that will on Sunday host the third round of the season. It was an unlucky...

ELIAS ON TARGET FOR FRONT ROW AS MELANDRI MAKES OPTIMISTIC START

After a three-week break the MotoGP engines fired up once again today at the Istanbul Park circuit that will on Sunday host the third round of the season.

It was an unlucky start for Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri, who has dominated here for the past two seasons, with victory on the Herman Tilke designed circuit in both 2005 and 2006.

Melandri was immediately on the pace today although he was the victim of two unfortunate crashes, setting back his work programme for the weekend. The Italian was uninjured and he remains optimistic and confident of improving in tomorrow's practice sessions after finding a good feeling with the bike at this circuit.

His team-mate Toni Elias, the current lap record holder thanks to his best effort (1'52"877) in last year's race, made a positive start and was the fastest Honda rider on the day with the fifth quickest time overall.

TONI ELIAS (5th,1'55"158): "I'm really satisfied with this first day. In the morning we were a little worried about the tyres but in the second half of the afternoon session our choice proved to be the right one. I found a good feeling with the tyres, I'm comfortable on the bike and we also made a small step forward with the set-up. We have to keep working in this way if we are to break into the lead group. The track conditions should be a lot better tomorrow because today it was quite dirty".

MARCO MELANDRI (10th, 1'55"910): "Today was more difficult than we expected. We haven't tested here but I was fast straight away so maybe I was a little too aggressive. I had two stupid crashes, one under braking, the other opening the gas, and in both cases the front folded. That obviously affected our work today but I'm confident we have a big margin to improve. Today I wanted to check our rear tyre choice but I didn't have the right feeling. Tomorrow I'll try a different tyre, following the advice of the Bridgestone technicians and I'm very optimistic. To see three Bridgestone bikes at the front is an added stimulus."

FAUSTO GRESINI: "Marco's two crashes didn't help things today and it's a shame because he was looking strong from the start. Marco still has to work on finding the right feeling on the front but he looks calm and confident to me. Toni has set a good lap time and he is going well but there is still work to do."

-credit: grh

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Marco Melandri , Toni Elias , Hermann Tilke