Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marco Melandri - What a Hero!

The MotoGP visit to Le Mans was wet as usual, and it produced a really interesting race. Cocky Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo won magnificently, staying out on wet tyres until the last possible moment before switching to slicks, and destroying the field in the process. However, the most amazing performance was from Marco Melandri, finishing 2nd on the Hayate Kawasaki.

Last year, Marco seemed to be finished. He just couldn't ride the Ducati. Whereas Casey Stoner chucks the Bologna Bullet into corners and wrestles it out of them, Marco was as terrified as a trainee tiger tamer in his first public performance. The hapless Italian would trundle round in last place, looking like an idiot.

But this year, Marco is back. The nutter who came around the last corner at Phillip Island, with one hand on the bars, smoking up the rear tyre on his way to victory, is back in the paddock. And he's riding the wheels off that awful black-painted Green Machine. Maybe it's fortunate that John Hopkins was fired by Kawasaki, he was terrible on that bike last year and would probably look like a complete monkey next to Melandri this year.

Marco took a thoroughly deserved second position at Le Mans. It was not caused by dozens of people crashing in front of him, it was sheer speed and talent in the impossibly slippy conditions. Even Valentino Rossi panicked, stopped too early for dry tyres, and fell off after about 3 corners on slicks. But he jumped back on the bike, did about 30 more pit stops, and finished the race. Only Kallio managed to rack up a DNF, and only Lorenzo managed to finish in front of Melandri.

It's great to have you back, Marco.

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