Aruba Ducati have confirmed that Marco Melandri will join Chaz Davies in their World Superbike team for next season, leaving Davide Giugliano looking for work.
Melandri has been out in the cold since his split with the Aprilia MotoGP team in the middle of last year. The move to bring him back to World Superbikes, where he has claimed 19 wins and 49 overall podiums in 100 races, is a strange one. Whether he has paid for the ride will be the subject of much speculation as he hasn’t ridden in WSBK since the end of 2014 when he finished fourth on the works Aprilia RSV4.
“I’m really excited to come back to racing, it’s a dream come true. I always said I was only interested in a top bike and top team, and I could not have asked for more. I kept following WorldSBK closely, and I’m confident the Panigale R can perfectly suit my riding style,” said Melandri.
“We’ll just have to take one step at a time, but the potential is surely high. I know it won’t be easy to get back up to speed, but I have all the time to step on the bike, do laps and make sure I’m ready for the first test: to this end, I will skip the holidays to train on a street version of the Panigale R.”
Davies, meanwhile, is in the middle of his third season with the Ducati team and is happy about staying.
“I’m extremely happy to renew my professional relationship with Ducati for two more seasons,” Davies said. “The continuity element is really important in our job, and so far we’ve made great strides and got progressively closer to our goal. Now we can fight for the win practically on every track, and I’m confident we can make further improvements. Moreover, to race for Ducati is something special: everything is done with heart and passion, you really feel part of a family and have a direct connection between the production and racing. It’s going to be exciting.”