New Yamaha World Superbike Team rider Marco Melandri showed his prowess on a motocross track last weekend as he took a YZ450F, supplied by the factory Yamaha Monster Energy Motocross Team, to second and first positions in two cold and muddy races for charity at the Faenza circuit.
The 28-year-old finished as the overall winner and was competing against other road racers and other Italian celebrities at the event created to raise funds and awareness for the Wings for Life foundation, assisting their research into cures for spinal cord injury and paralysis.
The hills of the Faenza saw Melandri gun his YZ450F past the likes of Andrea Dovizioso and Supermoto racer Cristian Ravaglia in his first outing for Melandri in blue colours after his test on the YZF-R1 at Valencia last week.
“I feel very happy about everything! It was a great charity race, the motocross guys were pushing really hard so it felt good to win,” said Melandri, who is a big fan of the sport, is friends with world champion Antonio Cairoli and is a frequent visitor to MX-GPs.
“It was good fun and a big satisfaction; it was my first ride on the 2011 Yamaha YZ450F, it is a great bike and it’s my first victory for Yamaha!”
Yamaha Monster Energy MX Team manager Massimo Raspanti was impressed with Melandri’s skills on the dirt.
“We lent Marco a standard 2011 YZ450F and made the shock spring a little softer because of his weight and also added an Akrapovic pipe – he was really happy with the bike and was impressed with the power,” commented Raspanti.
“He was battling it out with Dovizioso in the two heats and I was surprised by his ability. I knew he would be quick but not that fast and his style was also good. He didn’t change much on the bike, no handlebar positions or levers and was a pleasure to work with.
“We chatted about World Superbike and he seemed pretty pumped about the Valencia test and the new challenge he has.”
Melandri will now head to Australia at the beginning of December to continue tests on the 2011 R1 in preparation for his first attempt at the World Superbike Championship next year.