The Italian was back in good form at Jerez, although a misdemeanour with Chaz Davies left a bitter-sweet taste lingering
Marco Melandri had certainly turned a corner in performance at Jerez, with the Italian coming from the depths of despair in Aragon, Assen and Imola to fruitful improvements in Jerez to elevate himself up the order in the championship. The Italian was promoted to the WorldSBK Race 1 podium after a penalty for Jonathan Rea, whilst taking a third place on merit in the Tissot Superpole Race.
However, Melandri grabbed more headlines in Race 2, as he and former teammate Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) suffered a controversial collision which saw them both crashing out. Melandri tried getting ahead of the Welshman in the middle of Turn 5 but as Davies was coming back on line, the two connected, resulting in a crash and an opportunity for more strong points going begging.
Talking after the race, Melandri reflected on what had otherwise been a strong weekend: “It was a shame to finish the weekend with a crash, but when you think about where we were just two weeks ago and then how we were able to fight for the podium in all three races here in Jerez, it’s something so positive for us.”
Melandri didn’t hold back when portioning blame on Davies for the crash either. However, the FIM stewards found Melandri guilty of the incident, resulting in the Italian being handed a six place grid penalty at Misano – but only in the Tissot Superpole Race.
“It’s unfortunate that Chaz didn’t leave me the same amount of space I left him when the positions were reversed on the previous lap, but for me it was a racing incident and nothing more. Like I said, it’s a shame, because another podium finish was a real possibility today, even if fighting with Toprak was difficult because he’s so aggressive on the brakes.”
Melandri is sixth in the championship and 28 points behind Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), whilst seven points clear of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing). Melandri’s two podiums at Jerez put him back on top as the lead Independent rider.
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