Sykes takes a sur­prise WSB win

Ital­ian takes his first ever WSB win on home turf and his first win for Du­cati

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - GOR­DON RITCHIE IN ITALY WSB RE­PORTER

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

Melandri’s back on the top step

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