A phenomenal career in WorldSBK is coming to an end after 2019, but Marco Melandri has certainly left his mark!
He has been a part of motorcycle racing for over 20 years, but Marco Melandri has decided that he is to call time on his racing career. Still more than capable of podiums and wins on his day, Melandri has been a staple in WorldSBK since 2011, making impacts straight away. We relive five of his stand-out performances, looking back on a star-studded WorldSBK career.
Race 1 Donington Park, 2011 – Melandri’s first win!
2011 saw a new challenge in the career of Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), as he switched from MotoGP ™ to WorldSBK. Eager to impress and one of the favourites to take the title, Melandri entered the European Round at Donington Park with a goal to achieve a first win in his short WorldSBK career. In just his third WorldSBK race, Melandri powered through the field from ninth on the grid to take the lead with just two laps remaining, denying Jakub Smrz a first ever career win in the process.
It was one of the greatest achievements for the Italian, who joined a select group of riders to win in both premier classes of motorcycle racing. It was the first Italian win at Donington Park in WorldSBK for a decade and saw him back it up with a second in Race 2. Melandri had announced his presence on the WorldSBK grid in fine style.
Giving BMW their first win in WorldSBK!
In 2012, Melandri made the bold decision to join the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK outfit, partnering Leon Haslam who had been at the team a year previous. After Leon Haslam failed to deliver a win to the German manufacturer, Marco Melandri took a historic victory at Donington Park in 2012 in Race 1, giving the manufacturer a first win, whilst Leon Haslam made it BMW’s formation flying, with a 1-2 secured. It would be the first of nine wins for Melandri across the two years he was with BMW, on his way to a third-place in the championship in 2012.
His first win for Ducati; the 100th for an Italian rider in WorldSBK!
The numbers always add up for the iconic #33, with Marco Melandri taking his first win for Ducati upon his return to WorldSBK action in 2017; marking the 100th for Italy in the process. And where better to do it than at his home circuit of Misano – one of the places his decorated career first began. From tenth on the grid, Melandri carved his way through the order to take a spectacular home win, whilst others fell all around him in dramatic fashion. And if the numbers didn’t add up enough, Melandri’s first win for Ducati was the manufacturer’s 333rd…
Phillip Island 2018 – two kinds of victory!
The 2018 season opened with a bang, as Marco looked back to his old self, taking a stunning Race 1 victory to lead the championship for the first time since his return to WorldSBK. However, Race 2 proved another kind of win, with tenacity, resilience and determination setting in. Not many people have beaten Jonathan Rea in a head-to-head scrap since he had become the dominant force of WorldSBK, but the plucky, diminutive Italian had other ideas. Melandri waited until the final run to the line, using his Ducati’s horsepower to slipstream ahead of Rea by the line, taking an extraordinary win by just 0.021s. Whilst this may have been the last time he has led the WorldSBK championship, Melandri is still determined to add more wins to his tally.
Taking GRT to a first podium in their WorldSBK career!
Whilst a lot of attention was on Alvaro Bautista at the very front of WorldSBK, Marco Melandri blasted into the podium positions on the final lap of Race 1 Phillip Island at the start of this season. This podium was the 274th podium place for Yamaha in WorldSBK but the first for WorldSBK’s new team, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK. Melandri would go on to achieve more podiums with the team, with – to-date – his last one coming at Jerez in Race 2. This was his 75th podium, equaling Colin Edwards’ total.
Watch more WorldSBK action and Marco Melandri’s final rounds with the WorldSBK VideoPass!