Marco Melandri’s return to the WorldSBK Championship ended in the gravel trap this morning after a tangle with Alex Lowes at the Southern Loop left the Italian rueing what could have been.
The Aruba Ducati rider was right in the thick of it and led the race before he went to pass Pata Yamaha’s Lowes at Doohan, ran wide but then didn’t anticipate Lowes’ next move and had ended up off the track before retiring.
“Since the race was pretty slow-paced and crowded at the top, I wanted to take my time and save the tyres to try and pull away with Rea and Davies towards the end. I passed Lowes at turn one and went a bit wide, but he changed direction earlier than usual at turn two, cutting in front of me,” said Melandri.
“I lost the front for a moment and had to pick the bike up, going off the track. I knew a group battle would be a weak spot for us, given my long absence from the races. Today, however, it was really busy out there, and sometimes the races end like this. I’m disappointed, but also confident and eager to bounce back, given our potential. I learned many things today, and tomorrow it’ll be a different game, even though I’ll start from fourth row.”