This time he only just missed out: only a few tenths separated the MV Agusta from a much deserved Superbike podium, thanks to Leon Camier who came home in fourth, having gradually closed in on Melandri lap after lap, before putting the pressure on through the final corners.
The apple that Leon is crunching on while telling us about his race is a truly sweet one: “we didn't have a great qualifying session today - explains Leon- but after an aggressive start from eleventh, I started to make some passes, one after another, because I knew my speed and the F4's potential. I was able to brake hard, complete the turns well, I wanted to get as close to the front as possible”.
What was the key to such speed?
“Pushing hard and making up places, I really put the tyres to work: the rear was obviously worn, and started to slide a lot. At times, it was like riding a speedway bike, because I was sideways. I had to take risks, if I got the corner entry slightly wrong, I'd mess up the exit, because the engine revs would drop and I was short on torque. I was able to change my riding style, with different braking and different lines, while trying to stay calm”.
Could you have passed Melandri with one more lap?
“I'm sure I could have done! I was ready to attack, also because I had stronger race pace than his Ducati. I was moving closer to Marco and was telling myself to keep believing. Yes, if I'd had another lap, I'd have passed Melandri and been on the podium”.