Sykes takes a surprise WSB win
Italian takes his first ever WSB win on home turf and his first win for Ducati
He may be a former 250 World Champion but this weekend’s WSB win was extra-special for Marco Melandri – it was his first win of the year, his first for Ducati and his first WSB win on home soil. Not only that, but it was his 20th victory in the series and it means he has now won in WSB on Yamaha, BMW, Aprilia and Ducati machinery.
By Melandri’s own admission it has taken too long for him to join Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies as a race winner in 2017, but victory was all the sweeter for it – particularly for a rider whose career had looked to be washed up just a couple of years ago.
After the Italian media scrum that welcomed his victory had finally subsided, MCN spoke to Melandri about what this result means for both him and his Ducati bosses.
“That is 20 wins with four different manufacturers and my last win was in Magny-cours in 2014. But, back then when I went back into the garage and saw that the people were sad. That was not nice,” smiled Melandri. On that day he had won a race he was not supposed to, as it robbed eventual champion Sylvain Guintoli of valuable late-season points and his Aprilia bosses were not best pleased.
Sunday’s win was different as it turned what had been a difficult weekend for Ducati into a successful one. It eased the pain of Melandri’s race one crash from a podium place and it also went some small way to making up for his team-mate Chaz Davies’ injury on Saturday (see page 76). “Today was different from the last win in 2014. It took a long time to arrive, this first win for Ducati, but I think here was the best moment and place it could happen. It is the first time I have won in Superbikes in Italy, my first win with Ducati, my first win since I came back, and 100 wins for Italian riders in World Superbike - so it is something special. “I think the test we had here in Misano two weeks ago was important for us,” continued the Italian. “We made a very big step. From Imola we had many problems, strange problems, and at the tests we have only worked to solve and understand these prob- lem, not to be fast – and I was not fast at the tests.”
Visits to the Ducati factory have also helped Melandri nail some issues. “In the past few weeks I have been at Ducati a few times, to discuss with the guys what we could do and we changed quite a lot on the bike. The feeling I got from it was different from before. Now I am sure it will not just work at Misano, but everywhere.”
‘It’s my first win since I came back, and 100 for Italian riders in WSB’ MARCO MELANDRI