Tue, May 23, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Melandri wins in Le Mans

AP , LE MANS, FRANCE

Italy's Marco Melandri races his Honda during the French MotoGP Grand Prix at the Le Mans racetrack, in Le Mans, France, on Sunday. Italy's Marco Melandri won the race ahead of compatriot Loris Capirossi and Spain's Daniel Pedrosa.

PHOTO: AFP

Marco Melandri of Italy won the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on Sunday, while MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi again failed.

Honda rider Melandri won by nearly two seconds ahead of Loris Capirossi's Ducati. Dani Pedrosa of Spain had been fastest in qualifying but dropped to third place on his Honda.

"Today didn't start so well," said Melandri, who clinched his second race win of the season.

"The rear side of the tire was too hard for the first five laps," he added. "When the tires were warm I started to catch the front two."

After failing to classify at last weekend's Chinese GP, Rossi again suffered problems with his Yamaha and was eight laps adrift of Melandri, who completed the race in 44 minutes, 57.369 seconds.

"I think the race was fantastic," Capirossi said. "My rhythm was so high. When I saw that Rossi was out I thought I had a podium finish in the bag. I went all out to overtake Dani. I am pleased to be second here."

Capirossi finished in 44:59.298, and Pedrosa, winner at Le Mans last year in the 250cc category, finished in 44:59.638.

Pedrosa said he lost control of the race after making a strong start.

"I was doing great at the beginning," Pedrosa said. "But even during the first few laps I knew that the end would be difficult. At first the gap was small, but it was always increasing. I had a lot of tire problems but the choice was mine."

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