Marco Melandri looking to tame Ducati

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Marco Melandri is hoping engine modifications he will try for the first time in Malaysia next week will help him improve his confidence and speed on Ducati’s new 2008 MotoGP contender.

The former world 250 champion struggled to make an instant impact for the Bologna factory when he tested for Ducati twice before Christmas, admitting he found the world championship-winning machine was tougher to adapt to than he had first anticipated.

Melandri will be back track next Tuesday (January 22) with team-mate and world champion Casey Stoner when testing resumes at the Sepang circuit.

"I still need to be more confident with the opening of the throttle because my riding style is completely to Casey's. It is obvious that the bike has been developed for him and now I have to work to make it suit my style more, especially with the traction control.

"Hopefully when we test again the engine will be smoother and the power delivery less aggressive. The engine is a bit nervous for my style and that is the main difference I found between the Honda. It is more aggressive than the Honda and I imagine it would be very difficult to manage the power during the whole race.

"The problem is that changing the engine character is not something that is easy to do," said Melandri, who will also test at Phillip Island, Jerez and Qatar before the season gets underway on March 9 under the floodlights in Doha.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt