Marco Melandri spent the previous four years unlearning all he knew about MotoGP in order to be a top Superbike rider.
He won more WSB races at the end of this year than anyone but his re-introduction to MotoGP, in the first test of the new Aprilia with a pneumatic valve system, was very tough on a number of levels. “I did only ten laps on the new engine,” said Melandri. “Then we had some problems. We came back with a standard engine and actually I struggled a lot. I am not confident on the bike like I was on a Superbike. We have to find out why. The chassis side is different from the Superbike. Even the tyre rims; a lot of different things. But there is something that does not give me the confidence.”
Initially Melandri said at the Jerez tests that he had difficulty adjusting to the Bridgestone tyres but it was the overall chassis feel he toiled with at the end, in dry or wet conditions. “To go into the turn is normally where I am fast but now I am so stiff on the bike. I have no confidence.”
The change in the weather from dry to wet for his final day of testing did not help his cause in one way, but proved that there is an underlying issues with the match of Melandri and the current chassis set-up. “We had some ideas to try for our last day, but unfortunately it was wet. It was good for me to make some laps in the wet anyway because I have the same problem as in the dry. Normally in the wet I am always good but this time it was a bad feeling. I think we have started to realise what is not working for my riding style. For sure we have a lot of work to do but we knew this before.”