Marco Melandri says Kawasaki needs to improve the chassis and power delivery of its MotoGP bike become a top level team in 2009.
The Italian rider has had two tests on the 2008 bike, but will have a new bike to ride during testing in February.
“I know it’s going to be a very hard challenge. The character of the  bike is very similar to my riding style, so we have to improve the bike, not change it.”
He admitted half the battle would be for him to have fun again, after a dismal year in the factory Ducati squad. “When you relax, the speed comes,” he said.
Melandri was speaking during a visit to helmet maker Nolan’s stand at the NEC show, to promote his new replica helmet. He said he is working on three new helmet designs for 2009, and joked that one of them would need to be green. “Nolan doesn’t have much green in its range, but Kawasaki’s customers really want a green helmet.”
The Italian also chatted to fans and took part in a question and answer session with TV’s Steve Parrish.
Catch the full video interview on www.motorcyclenews.com later this week.