Valentino Rossi’s failure to perform in two seasons with Ducati has left former MotoGP rider Marco Melandri feeling somewhat vindicated because when he failed at Ducati no one gave him a free pass like fans have been doing with Rossi, and many wrongly said that Melandri was burned out and now we know that it wasn’t true.
The Italian was set to ride for Ducati in 2007, but Fausto Gresini decided to use his option on the Italian and wouldn’t release him, so Ducati’s third draft pick Casey Stoner was hired and the rest of the story is now written in motorcycle racing history books.
Melandri finally joined Ducati in 2008 and had a two-year deal to ride what at that time many deemed to be the best and most powerful bike on the grid - while the wildly talented Stoner who took 10 victories and four podiums that season seemed more of an afterthought - but the Italian’s debut season was disastrous that Ducati forced him to go to a sports psychologist because of his lowly position in the championship and they even publically asked Ducati Superbike riders Troy Bayliss and Max Biaggi to test the GP8 (which was a hybrid of the 2007 machine) to show Melandri that his lack of performance was not due to the bike - both riders declined, while Sete Gibernau came out of retirement to do a three-day test on the 2008 and 2009 machines and would later make an aborted attempt to return to action with the very short lived Grupo Francisco Hernando team.
In an interview with the usual Gazzetta dello Sport, Melandri said, “I haven’t enjoyed seeing the difficulties Valentino has had, but they do show that I was right. I knew I was fast and had the right sensations to help in development, but I wasn’t listened to, Valentino’s problems has given me back credibility” but the Italian was quick to point out that he doesn’t “ live on revenge and the past does no longer counts.”
On Andrea Dovizioso going to Borgo Panigale, Melandri doesn’t predict an easy future for his fellow countryman, “For Andrea it was the only choice. I hope that I am wrong, but the premises aren’t rosy. Ducati will not spend the same amount on research and development that they invested on with Rossi.”