As we reported yesterday, Marco Melandri has joined the World Superbike championship and will be riding for the Yamaha Sterilgarda team next season.
The announcement came after Team Honda Gresini’s press release announcing that Melandri and the team were parting ways and right after Yamaha Monster Tech3 team confirmed that Cal Crutchlow will be riding for their MotoGP team for the next two years and that Melandri will be replacing Crutchlow in the Superbike squad.
Melandri is a former 250cc GP World Champion and has finished as highly as 2nd in the MotoGP Championship with five MotoGP race victories to date in his career and a further 10 250ccGP victories, but in the last two years has had a torrid relationship with MotoGP and is currently ninth in the standings.
“I’m very happy with this new challenge, it’s a big change and I want to fight for world superbike wins,” said Marco Melandri. “It’s nice to be back with Yamaha; I know many people there; I was very young when I rode with them before, now I’m much more mature. As the reigning 2009 champions The Yamaha Sterilgarda Team have proved to have a very competitive package and are one of the top teams in World Superbike. I realise Superbike is not easy and I know I have to work hard. I’m looking forward to feeling the adrenalin again and fighting for the championship.” also adding “But I felt that I needed a new challenge and the genuine opportunity to be back fighting for wins and podiums led me to make this choice.”
“Marco is a great signing for the World Superbike Team. He has massive experience at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing and is extremely motivated to have the opportunity to challenge for race wins again. Whilst it is sad to see Cal leave us to move on up in the Yamaha family we are excited to have a serious title contender such as Marco joining us.” Said Yamaha Motor Europe Racing Manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp.
While Fausto Gresini who Melandri has always considered his mentor and close friend said:
“I would like to thank Marco for this season on behalf of myself, our sponsors and everybody who works with the team I’m glad that we were able to spend another season together because we are great friends and I hope that we can achieve the results that have eluded us so far in what remains of the championship. I encourage him to take on his next challenge with great determination and I am sure he can be as successful there as he was with us in 2005, 2006 and 2007.”