From 15th to 6th in Race 2, Melandri put in a determined ride to finish the European section of his career on a high!
The final European round of his World Superbike career beckoned for Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK). The Italian veteran has had plenty of success over the years and was on show for the massive French crowd one last time, before the final rounds of his career in Argentina and Qatar. It was a solid weekend for Melandri too, who was eighth in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2, Whilst he could only manage 12th in the Tissot Superpole Race.
Saturday’s race proved difficult for Melandri, who, just by keeping upright, was able to take advantage of the drama ahead of him and finish inside the top ten, from 13th on the grid. He was also the third Yamaha home, with only Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) in fourth and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in sixth ahead of him.
Then, it was a fight to 12th before a determined ride saw Melandri romp through from 15th on the grid and finish in sixth, making it four Yamaha riders inside the top six. Melandri remains ninth in the standings and still has a mathematical chance of pipping Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to eighth overall.
Speaking after the round, the 37-year-old commented on his weekend: “Sixth in Race 2 on Sunday wasn't such a bad way to end what has been a difficult weekend. Starting from the fifth row after the Superpole race meant it wasn't an easy race, and I lost a lot of time at the beginning when Toprak and Alvaro crashed, which allowed Leon Camier to pass me again.”
Melandri’s sixth place is the first time he has been inside the top six of a WorldSBK race since the Tissot Superpole encounter at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” back in June. It is his 12th top-six of the season, in what will be his final year in the championship.
“But in the end the rhythm wasn't too bad, so I can be happy, especially as I won my little battle with Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes. Now we head to Argentina, where I hope we can improve further.”
Argentina now awaits Marco Melandri and the Circuito San Juan Villicum, where he achieved the first ever pole position at the venue last season – his last to-date. He was second and third in the races, so watch out for Melandri, who will want to end his career in the best possible way before retirement at the end of the season.
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