"Contrasting feelings" for Melandri as final WorldSBK weekend looms

Monday, 21 October 2019 12:26 GMT

Marco Melandri’s distinguished career will come to an end when the chequered flag drops in Race 2 at Losail, with the Italian reflecting on his time in motorcycle racing

Having been in the WorldSBK paddock for eight seasons, Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) will begin to turn off his career when the Losail International Circuit lights turn on. The Italian heads into the final round of his World Superbike career aiming to finish on a high and leave his mark on the World Superbike paddock. With good form right across his career in Qatar, Melandri is certainly one to watch on his farewell.

2019 has been a season of challenges for Melandri, who began the season so strongly with a thrilling podium at Phillip Island. Since then however, just two more podiums have come the Italian’s way, as he has finished numerous races outside of the top ten positions. But now, he is looking to return to the top ten and consolidate his ninth place overall in his final season of WorldSBK action.

Speaking positively ahead of the final WorldSBK round, Melandri said: “For sure, I will arrive in Qatar with lots of contrasting feelings. On one hand, I don’t want this life ever to end. Since I was four years old, I’ve just been thinking about riding and I think it is the best thing I have ever done. It has been an honour, being able to do it for such a long time,” said a reflective Melandri, a former 250cc World Champion and 2012 World Superbike runner-up.

Melandri’s form at the Losail International Circuit in WorldSBK is solid but not stand-out, with just one podium in five races but every race featuring a top ten result. In MotoGP™, he was second in 2005 after a final lap battle with Champion Valentino Rossi. However, Melandri’s determination to sign of his career on a high will look to prove pivotal in the Italian’s performance this weekend.

Poetic and poignant as ever, Melandri didn’t ignore the fact that a new life after racing is a daunting prospect: “On the other hand, I can’t wait for the season to end. Not being able to ride as I wish and having to fight with the bike, riding so slow, it’s just frustrating. It’s really difficult when you see that the results you get don’t match with what you are really capable of doing. Anyway, I think that I won’t realise it until the next season will begin and I won’t be there.

“I am frightened about the idea of having to start a new chapter of my life, but I am also curious to find out what the world can offer me apart from racing. I don’t want to do projects. I just want to enjoy every moment living day by day.”

What can Melandri achieve in his WorldSBK farewell? Watch him action for the final time with the WorldSBK VideoPass!