MELANDRI NOT BACK TO JUST MAKE UP NUMBERS
After almost two years away from racing, many were shocked to see Aruba Ducati sign up Marco Melandri to partner Chaz Davies in their World Superbike effort for 2017.
Having not raced a bike since leaving Aprilia’s Motogp project under a cloud in 2015, whether the Italian would still have what it takes to run at the front in WSB was up for debate, but a strong showing in preseason testing suggests he isn’t back to just make up the numbers.
“I’m really keen to make the most of this,” Melandri said. “I’d like to finish my career knowing that I left a positive mark in this sport. I’ll have a more positive approach this time, even when it gets difficult.”
Melandri won 19 WSB races between moving to the series in 2011 and leaving in 2014 and finished runner-up in the 2011 season, but the Italian could have done so much more had he not developed a tendency to crash.
“There are a lot of riders capable of taking the top step, so consistency will be important. At the moment I do not know what to expect, I need to get familiar with the racing context once again, but I’m confident we can score some very good results.
“Sure, the time away from the tracks will be a disadvantage early on and the first laps will be tough but I’d rather focus on the opportunities. We did a really good job with race pace in testing, we still need to improve the pace on new tyres but we’re not far off.” MCN says: Marco pushed Rossi to the 2005 Motogp crown, so his ability to race is unquestionable. But on the flip side, he can be spectacularly inconsistent when the heat is on and has the reputation of initiating bitter rivalries. He’s WSB’S dark horse and bad boy all in one.
‘I’ll have a more positive approach this time, even in the difficult times’
Could Marco thow a spanner into the WSB works?