The BMW press office issued the following press release interview with Marco Melandri. In the interview, Melandri talks about being pleasantly surprised by the BMW, working with new teammate Leon Haslam, and his impressions of the 2012 season. Here's the press release:
BMW Motorrad factory rider Marco Melandri: "I am very confident about the bike."
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 02nd February 2012. The new BMW Motorrad factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) is counting the weeks until the FIM Superbike World Championship’s 2012 season starts. After all the preparations over the winter, the 29-year-old is now looking forward to his first season with BMW Motorrad Motorsport. The first races will be held on 26th February in Phillip Island (AUS). In an interview, Melandri speaks about the team, the BMW S 1000 RR, the co-operation with team mate, Leon Haslam (GBR), and his personal strengths.
How long did it take you to feel comfortable within BMW Motorrad Motorsport?
Marco Melandri: "For sure, it takes some time to get to know each other, but from my side we have actually got off to a very good start. I find the atmosphere in the factory very positive, and everybody has tried to work even harder than before. And from my side it is the same, so I really liked it. We know it will be a big challenge, and we know we need to keep up with the other guys. But we will do that. I am very happy to be here."
What were your first impressions of the team?
Melandri: "That it was very big! That was a bit unusual for me in the beginning. But now we are all working together, and trying to use the full potential of all the resources and people available to us."
What are your thoughts on the BMW S 1000 RR?
Melandri: "I am happy with it. Before I tested it for the first time, some people made me very scared because I had some bad experiences with the Ducati in 2008. When I jumped on the bike for the first time I discovered some difficult areas, but I was also pleasantly surprised by many of its positives. During the test with the 2011 bike I saw that it is a ‘normal’ bike without any pitfalls. We just need to take the pieces and put them together in the best way to provide the optimal package. Of course it was a lot of work over the winter, and we will see how long it takes us to have this optimal package. However, I am happy about the bike and about how it feels, so I am very confident. I think good confidence is the only thing a rider needs to be fast."
How well do you get on with Leon Haslam?
Melandri: "We get on very well. I have known him since the time I lived fairly close to him in England. I think it is good for the team for us to be team mates because it means we can push each other, which is good for results. We do have different riding styles, but we have agreed on what changes to make to the bike so that we can work in the same direction in order to move the team forward."
What do you think of the one-bike rule?
Melandri: "As far as I am concerned it is always better to have two bikes, because I always raced with two bikes. If in qualifying you have a small problem on one bike, you have the chance to continue on the second. That was also especially good for the sponsors. So for me this is not very positive, but it is the same for everyone. So now we need to prepare just one bike for the race. I am sure it will work out ok."
What are your personal strengths - and weaknesses?
Melandri: "I always try to improve myself in those areas where I have weaknesses. That is not always easy. One of my strengths is that in races I am always stronger compared to testing and practice. I don’t know why. I’m a racer. I love racing, and as soon as a race starts I always try to give it a bit more than in practice."
How do you relax away from the track?
Melandri: "Actually I love sport. So I try to train as often as possible, but not necessarily every day. Otherwise I stay at home, watch TV, or go out riding off-road bikes. For me it is difficult to do nothing. The only problem is to have the time."
What is your target for the 2012 season?
Melandri: "To have fun. When I am fast I score good results - and I always enjoy doing that. That is why that is my target. I would like to have some good fights, score good results and feel good on the bike. Then it is a lot of good fun - and the good results will also be there."