Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Melandri takes winning form to Valencia

Two weeks after taking his maiden MotoGP win in Turkey, Marco Melandri was back
on the charge today with the fastest lap on the first day of free practice of
the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana. Melandri set a best
lap of 1'33.464 on Friday afternoon to conclude the day just 0.042s ahead of
Carlos Checa, who had set the pace in the morning's opening session, and raise
hopes of a grandstand finish to the season as he aims to hold off Nicky Hayden
in the chase for the runner-up spot in the championship.

"I felt comfortable on the bike from the first minute," commented Melandri, who
holds a nine-point advantage over his Honda colleague in the current standings.
"We have started out with a hybrid set-up using the data from the winter tests
here and the last race in Turkey and it has worked well but I know the times
will be closer tomorrow. I want to finish on the podium but I am more bothered
about taking second in the championship than I am about winning this race."

Checa, who is almost certainly making his last appearance with Ducati this
weekend, was closely followed by his Spanish compatriot Sete Gibernau - a
potential replacement in the Italian factory team. The 2003 and 2004 runner-up
has yet to win a race this year but he is on course to sign off in style at the
scene of his maiden victory, lapping just 0.059 seconds adrift of Melandri today.

Hayden was fourth fastest followed by current Ducati rider Loris Capirossi, back
on track after missing the last two races through injury. Capirossi finished
0.237 seconds ahead of sixth-placed Alex Barros, who was the final rider under
the 1'34 mark today. Valentino Rossi was the highest placed Yamaha rider but the
Italian had a lacklustre day on the YZR-M1, this weekend sporting the Japanese
manufacturer's red, white and black vintage paint scheme. Honda mounted riders
Max Biaggi and Makoto Tamada took eighth and ninth respectively, ahead of
Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards, who completed the top ten.

Casey Stoner clinched provisional pole position in the 250cc class, beating
World Champion and home favourite Dani Pedrosa by just 0.002 seconds on his
penultimate lap. The session had been dominated by Pedrosa, who steadily
improved until Stoner posted his best lap in the latter stages to become the
only Aprilia rider on the front row of the provisional grid. Pedrosa was
followed by Honda factory colleagues Hector Barbera and Hiroshi Aoyama, third
and fourth fastest respectively.

Mattia Pasini set the pace in the 125cc class after lapping just 0.065 seconds
quicker than Gabor Talmacsi. Julian Simon was third fastest whilst Thomas Luthi,
who can win the title by scoring three points in Sunday's race, completes the
front row in fourth. Mika Kallio, the only man capable of stopping Luthi,
qualified at the head of the provisional second row in fifth place.

INFO 2005/173. 4-11-2005