SBK, Melandri: "My future? I don't need to sell myself short"

EXCLUSIVE - "I tried the Ducati V4 and I asked Aruba to stay, in Superbike I can do another two seasons at high level"

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A large question mark is hovering over his future. Indeed, because Marco Melandri is still waiting for an answer from Ducati about 2019. If Davies’ renewal is basically taken for granted, for the Italian there is still some uncertainty. In fact, there is talk of the possibility of seeing Alvaro Bautista astride the Panigale, or perhaps Eugene Laverty. The fact is that number 33 remains focused on himself with the goal of continuing his adventure in red. The upcoming weeks will therefore be decisive, both on track and off. On one hand there is the transfer market and on the other, the weapons need to be honed for the second part of the championship.

Marco, the transfer market remains in the limelight. After Misano, you had said that the idea for August was to obtain some certainty. It seems that this is not the case.

That’s true. Right now, I still do not have any clarification - Marco began - I know that by the end of the week there will be a meeting between Aruba and Ducati and then they’ll know which direction to go. I really don’t know what else to say other than that.”

How did you leave things with Aruba before the summer break?

“My point of contact has always been Cecconi. We met and then we gave ourselves some deadlines. I thought about it, telling them that I would like to continue with Ducati. I also told them that the V4 could meet me halfway in terms of my characteristics.”

However, in the meantime there are plenty of rumours. Laverty reached out and Bautista could be alongside Davies.

“To be honest, I don’t read the papers, but if I understand correctly, everyone is reaching out to everyone else. Personally, I do not need to sell myself short, partly because I consider that sort of behaviour to be unprofessional. I think it is right to meet and listen. That is synonymous with professionalism.”

What can Melandri still offer Superbike?

“I believe that I have two more years at top form and in recent races, there has always been a good battle with Chaz. Personally, I feel strong and competitive.”

If the Ducati adventure should come to an end, which bike has captured your attention? Has there been talk of the Yamaha?

“I think they are both spoken for.”

There has been talk of a Yamaha satellite team though.

“I didn’t know that. To be honest, my goal is to continue with Ducati, as I said. It is true that there are alternatives, but I still haven’t thought about it, above all out of respect for the team.”

You mentioned the V4 before. You tried the street version at WDW, saying that it satisfied you.

“Exactly. I found great stability with the new bike, plus the engine output power is a particularly relevant aspect which will have to help the chassis architecture going into corners. After WDW, I also used the V2 street version in order to compare them both and have some certainty about them. It was precisely after that day that I notified Cecconi of my desire to remain.”

Let’s talk about the second part of the season. Where do you pick up from?

“This year the break was really too long. Fortunately, we’ll go to Portimão for the 23-24 August tests. Over the winter we had struggled in Portugal, but I expect to take a step forward, since the races are usually different.”

Hopes for the championship title went up in smoke, but there is still the battle for the podium. Do you think about that?

“There are still four rounds left and I’ll take them as they come, thinking about the individual race. One of these is the unknown Argentina, but I am curious to discover it. I haven’t looked at the standings for several months. The only thing that I need is to ride good races, aiming at finishing on the podium.”

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Translated by Jonathan Blosser

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