Marco Melandri returns to MotoGP

Marco Melandri has a MotoGP ride again.

Melandri has spent the past few years in World Superbike racing for Aprilia’s factory team. He won six races in 2015 and earned another five podiums, helping them win the manufacturer’s championship. Maybe that success is why they are shuffling him back to MotoGP, despite his ignoring the order to let teammate Sylvain Guintoli pass him at Magny-Cours this year?

Of course, Melandri also has lots of MotoGP experience that makes him a natural candidate for the seat with the Gresini-managed Aprilia squad. His experience in MotoGP goes all the way back to the 1990s, when he cut his teeth racing 125 cc two-strokes. Between the different classes he raced over the years, he managed 22 wins and 62 podiums before jumping to World Superbike, where he earned a further 19 career wins and 31 podiums.

Aprilia racing director Romano Albesiano said the announcement of Melandri joining the Gresisini team means they’re now ready for the 2015 championship, saying “With Marco Melandri the last piece of the puzzle has been put into place for Aprilia’s participation in next year’s MotoGP season.”

Melandri himself seems to be looking forward to the work ahead.

I was offered the chance to develop a completely new project and it is something that I have not yet done in my career since I have always had ‘inherited’ bikes,” said Melandri. “Precisely for this reason I am very intrigued by this challenge.

“I am working with a company and a racing department which sought me out and with which I want to continue to work in order to develop and grow a great project. Aprilia Racing has always demonstrated their ability to make great bikes and make them fast. I’ll put in my efforts.”

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