Marco Melandri has renewed his contract with the Yamaha World Superbike team for 2012, resulting in an unchanged line-up for the factory team next season. Teammate Eugene Laverty had signed a two-year contract with the Japanese team after moving up from nearly winning the World Supersport championship in 2010. The Italian, the 2002 250 GP world champion, has fared well in his rookie WSBK season and won three races to this point.
“Next year I’ll still be here in Superbike,” said Melandri. He continued, “After changing four bikes and four teams in the last four years I am very happy to be able to build something that will last rather than having to start over again every time.” He must also be happy with his results on circuits both familiar and new, having won pole once and been on the podium nine times in so far, including recent duels at Motorland Aragon and Brno with Max Biaggi.
Melandri will race a familiar track again this weekend at Silverstone. “I think Silverstone is one of the best tracks of the season. I really enjoyed riding there last year with the GP and I’m looking forward to riding it with my R1,” said Melandri, “It’s a nice flowing track with some fast corners and these characteristics should be suitable for my bike.”
Teammate Laverty is equally excited, though cautious. He explained, “The start/finish line has been moved for 2011 and so I’m going to have to rethink my race strategy. Last year I made my [WSS] race-winning overtake into Abbey on the last lap but it’s now the first corner which changes things quite a bit. I’m looking forward to the new challenge though and I’d love nothing more than to walk away with a victory, or two, at my home round.”