Home rider looking to repeat 2017 Riviera di Rimini Round performance
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, as the saying goes. With over twenty years spent in world championships, Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) knows better than most how to bounce back from a rough patch. The Italian’s season has stalled markedly since his Phillip Island double, but going into the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli the 35-year-old will be a fearsome rider, as always when his back is facing the wall.
Look for no further proof than last season’s Misano race. Returning to the championship after a three-year absence, Melandri was in a similar predicament in 2017 to this year, a promising start to the season slowing down on arrival to Rimini. Riding Ducati machinery for the first time in his WorldSBK career, Melandri was finishing consistently behind both his teammate and both Kawasaki bikes, but at Misano the Italian finally found his groove. Race One was marred by a last lap fall while riding third, but in Race Two Melandri stormed from tenth on the grid to first at the flag, an imposing performance that helped him and the Ducati team face the closing rounds of the season with renewed confidence.
It’s a race that Melandri remembers fondly: "Misano is always a special round for me, and clearly my first win with Ducati scored there last year left an indelible mark in me. To race there once again, this time knowing for sure our potential, makes me really excited”.
Good performances have not come quite as easily this year for the veteran rider – seven top five finishes to 2017’s twelve at this stage of the championship – but he’s confident that Misano can bring about another watershed moment: “I feel great physically, and I'm ready for two races that will likely be very hot and grueling. I'm sure we'll be in the mix, and I expect a big fight given how much some of our competitors have improved lately, which only makes things more fun and exciting. I can't wait to get back on the track”.
Watch the Italian face his home circuit once again at the Riviera di Rimini Round thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.