The Live sessions are continuing on the social pages of GPOne, and in today's live there were two guests. Linking up with Marco Caregnato, Riccardo Guglielmetti and Gianmaria Rosati were in fact Marco Melandri and his wife Manuela Raffaeta, who from their home in Trentino spoke about Marco's career from their respective points of view. "I moved here for love - Marco says - and now the situation is a bit surreal, since as there is nobody around the animals are getting closer to the villages, yesterday for example in a nearby village they saw a wolf on the street".
How's your quarantine going?
“Well, I’m living immersed in a good environment and I’m relaxing, as well as training by bicycle on the rollers, virtually challenging friends and other riders. I’m enjoying what I didn’t have much time to enjoy in the past, starting with my daughter”.
Let's talk about your career. If you could change one season, which one would it be?
"I think the start of my problems was at the end of 2005, when after finishing runner-up in the world championship with Gresini I thought I deserved the official Honda, but unfortunately I was not Spanish. I understood that I had to look around, so I chose Ducati, and from there the problems started because for various reasons I had to change bikes very often, when continuity is instead a fundamental ingredient ".
What do you remember of the season with the Hayate team?
"It was a particular season, but I never thought I would never make it, since the bike always had potential and the group was really tight-knit. I only ever thought I’d never make it in 2015 with Aprilia, I never believed in that project: I told them clearly that that project could work in the future, but certainly not at that moment. I expressed my willingness to race in Superbike and to be a tester for MotoGP, but it wasn't good enough for them".
By the way, have you ever thought about being a post-retirement tester? After all, several times your feelings were the right ones, for example in Ducati MotoGP…
"That makes me laugh because I think back to the first words that I said to Preziosi after the first day on the Ducati. I told him that in my opinion that engine seemed like an ‘unjetted’ Ciao: all day I told him what was wrong in my opinion and in the end, I tried to make myself understood in this way. Other than that, I never really wanted to be a tester, because I never particularly liked tests."
Zarco abandoning KTM reminded many observers of your difficulties in MotoGP with Ducati and Aprilia. What causes a pilot to act that way?
"It is a question of feelings, but it should be added that Zarco did not stop for free. My situations with Ducati and Aprilia were different from each other: in Ducati I chose to go, I arrived at the wrong time because Stoner was winning and I didn't like the bike, they were all against me and at that time it was right. Ducati took me to see psychologists but it was not possible to resolve the situation; I thought that I had earned enough and that I had to go back to having fun, so I swapped the second year of contract with the possibility of trying another motorbike already in August of that year : I tried the Kawasaki and could see that I was still fast, so I decided on a change of scenery. In retrospect, perhaps I should have done an extra season with Ducati, but in those moments it’s a question of feeling”.
You’ve tried many different bikes, with which one did you have the best possible feeling?
“I would say the Honda V5, it was the right compromise for everything. Traction control in that bike was a help, while now it's a riding style."
One motorcycle that you have ridden is the RSV4, which has remained in the hearts of many people. What do you think about it?
“I think it is the best Superbike I have ever ridden, despite the many difficulties encountered in the season. The day after my signature Dall'Igna left, and Albesiano had no experience in the racing world: we threw the first part of the season away because of bullshit, and once I started to win I didn't have to do it anymore, because with every victory of mine it was like I was stabbing the company. I was thinking of reaping the benefits the following year, instead they took me, begrudgingly on my part, to MotoGP. The RSV4 is a bike that with very little could still have its say at the highest levels ".
What do you think of the first race of the 2020 Superbike season?
"I didn’t see the races live, first of all because I feel that I have to switch myself off a bit having just quit. All in all, watching MotoGP has less effect on me, as there are many riders that I haven't raced with. I really like Razgatlioglu, he is a young man to focus on for various reasons: I expect a balanced championship, even though Phillip Island is a particular track and things could change. Rea may still have something more than the others; I think Redding will have to focus on being regular and he can manage to do it. "
Do you regret not having tried the Panigale V4?
“I think it would have been the right bike for me and me the right rider for it. Alvaro and I are similar in various respects: I asked Ducati if I could try it out to see if it jolted on the straight like the V2, but they had already decided to get rid of me. It bothered me that they didn't tell me the truth: Bautista brought money while I would have cost more than the previous year. However, I told Ducati that Davies would struggle on the V4, as his riding style fits the V2 and it is difficult to change it after so many years. About Bautista, I have a little anecdote from last year."
"On Thursday at Laguna Seca I talked to my former Ducati team, and since they had box number 17, I said: "You might as well go to the beach because you won’t even score one point with that box" and that’s the way it went… (laughs). I met them on Sunday evening and said to them "Treat me well or I'll have Bautista go to Honda" and two weeks later that’s what happened (laughs)."
What about Davies, what’s your rapport like now?
"At the end of the last season, we agreed that we would always have two different ideas. We talked hard a few times because when he gets agitated, he becomes aggressive, but the same goes for me because I'm half Sicilian (laughs). "
Last year it seemed that in 2020 there was the possibility of you returning to Ducati with the Barni team. Why did the operation fall through?
“I spoke to Barnabò (patron of the Barni team) on several occasions, he is a good guy and does things in the right way. The idea had flashed through my mind for a while, but then I thought that there wouldn’t be any point doing one more year, so I decided to quit. He asked me to go and do the tests in January as replacement for Camier, but I preferred not to because if I liked the bike it would have been a problem."