Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

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?

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