Former world champion Marco Melandri is expecting a tough time at this weekend’s Thailand WorldSBK round as he expects the Yamaha R1 to struggle on the two long straights.

Buriram has one one-kilometre long straight and another not far short of it, and the R1’s top-speed deficit was shown at Phillip Island where it was around three miles per hour down on the Panigale V4. That’s a lot over the business end of two kilometres.

“I’m feeling good and confident after the opening round in Australia and my feeling is getting better day by day with both the bike and the team, so let’s get started and see what happens,” said Melandri.

“It’s a track I like a lot, even if it’s not the most technical circuit on the calendar. On paper it’s possibly not the best track for us, as there are two long straights and we still miss a little in this area.

“But I think the high temperatures we are expecting this weekend could play in our favour,” said Melandri.

Melandri says he is curious to see how other riders get on without several days of testing prior to the event, as there were in Australia.

“It will also be interesting how things go with no prior testing at the Chang International Circuit, to see if everyone is as fast as they were at Phillip Island. I’m excited to get the weekend started.”

Melandri sits hird in the championship standings with 30 points and is currently the leading Yamaha rider. The Italian veteran got his 2019 season off a flying start in Australia with a third place finish in the opening race, to give the GRT Yamaha squad a first podium finish on their WorldSBK debut.

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