The Future of Ducati: Davies Stays – Melandri Returns

Thursday, 28 July 2016 11:52 GMT

Veteran rider back in the WorldSBK paddock to partner Championship contender Davies

Marco Melandri is set to make a return to the World Superbike paddock in 2017, as the Racing – Ducati team announce the Italian as partner to staying talent Chaz Davies. Davies was widely expected to stay with the Borgo Panigale factory as has been officially confirmed to be doing so.

The goal of the team is clear: to fight for both the rider’s and manufacturer’s titles.

Davies is now in year 3 of his Ducati tenure and, as well as scoring the Panigale’s first win, has since added 8 more victories to the tally and is a key Championship protagonist, heading the Ducati charge against the Kawasaki pairing of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.

“I’m extremely happy to renew my professional relationship with Ducati for two more seasons,” said Davies. “The continuity element is really important in our job, and so far we’ve made great strides and got progressively closer to our goal. Now we can fight for the win practically on every track, and I’m confident we can make further improvements. Moreover, to race for Ducati is something special: everything is done with heart and passion, you really feel part of a family and have a direct connection between the production and racing. It’s going to be exciting.”

Veteran Melandri, on the other hand, will return to WorldSBK once more - where he has claimed 19 wins and 49 overall podiums in 100 races.

“I’m really excited to come back to racing, it’s a dream come true,” Melandri stated. “I always said I was only interested in a top bike and top team, and I could not have asked for more. I kept following WorldSBK closely, and I’m confident the Panigale R can perfectly suit my riding style. We’ll just have to take one step at a time, but the potential is surely high. I know it won’t be easy to get back up to speed, but I have all the time to step on the bike, do laps and make sure I’m ready for the first test: to this end, I will skip the holidays to train on a street version of the Panigale R.”

The 2016 championship will therefore mark Davide Giugliano’s last season within the Racing - Ducati team. In three years with the squad, the Italian rider has shown great speed and resilience, taking 10 podiums so far despite being sidelined for most of 2015 with two serious injuries.

Ducati and thank Davide for his efforts, wishing him all the best for his future career and reiterating their commitment to give him the best possible tools to achieve his first WorldSBK win.

“I had a great time with Ducati,” said Giugliano. “I learned a lot and was given a wealth of experience to draw upon, which is really important for a young rider. We also faced some difficult times, especially last year when I was badly injured, but we’ve always stayed close. We decided to take different paths, but our relationship remains strong. It’s been a great journey, which has yielded great results despite the fact that we would have liked to do more, but I’ll give my best until the end of the season to achieve bigger goals.”

The Racing – Ducati team recently concluded a test at Lausitzring and are now on summer break – with racing set to resume at the German venue in September as the last four Rounds of the season get underway, and 2017 begins to appear on the horizon.