Marco Melandri Ducati Contract NewsFollowing a short stint with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini due to the “un-rideable” RS-GP in MotoGP, Marco Melandri joined the Aruba.it Racing Ducati team for 2017 World Superbike.Ahead of 2017 SBK, Melandri had some Ducati experience—a year in MotoGP piloting the GP8 next to the only rider to award Ducati a MotoGP title, the now-retired Casey Stoner, who continues as a Ducati brand ambassador.
To date, during his one-year contract with the factory Ducati World Superbike team, Melandri has claimed seven podiums in eight rounds, including a win at his home race in Misano.This type of performance helped the 35-year-old Melandri earn another year with the Aruba.it Racing Ducati Team. Melandri will continue to race the Panigale R in 2018 with Chaz Davies, who signed another two-year contract with Ducati that began in 2017.Collectively, Melandri and Davis, who raced together in 2013 SBK aboard Goldbet BMW S S 1000 RR superbikes, has collected 44 wins and 115 podiums to date.“I’m really happy for the opportunity to prolong this professional collaboration, which represented a new beginning in my career as a rider,” says Marco Melandri. “Together with Ducati and Aruba.it, we enjoyed some really memorable moments, while in other occasions I think my long break from racing affected our performance, so I’m sure there’s still plenty of room to improve.“To this end, continuing with the same team and the same bike represents the best possible opportunity to achieve higher goals. I’m ready to tackle a new season with more experience and confidence, and it’s a challenge that makes me incredibly happy. First of all, however, we need to finish the current championship as strongly as possible. With five rounds to go, we’ll always give our 100 percent and assess our performance in the end.”Luigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager, says: “We’re really happy to consolidate our efforts in the WorldSBK Championship based on continuity, both in terms of the technical package and the riders’ roster. One year ago, Marco started a new adventure with great enthusiasm, showing his talent since the very first outing with the Panigale R despite coming back from a long absence. His qualities are quite obvious, as shown by the results achieved thus far this year. That said, we believe we can reach even more ambitious goals together. With Melandri and Davies, our target is obviously the championship title, both in the Riders and Constructors standings.”Stefano Cecconi, Aruba S.p.A. CEO and Team Principal, says: “From early on, Marco seamlessly integrated within our ‘family’, showing both great speed and professionalism. He worked constantly together with Chaz to develop and improve the package, stepping on the podium already in the opening round of the season, at his official debut with us, and steadily fighting for top positions. Therefore, our priority was to confirm the current riders’ roster. Both Marco and Chaz can aim at the title, and we’ll do our best to always give them the necessary tools to win.”