Melandri to Yamaha WSBK – Tardozzi to Blame?

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Surprise! After being 99% certain to go to the factory BMW World Superbike team, Marco Melandri has head-faked the entire motorcycle industry, and landed himself a ride at the factory Yamaha camp instead. Announced at Nurburgring this weekend, Melandri will ride for Sterilgarda Yamaha in the 2011 season. Originally linked to BMW for a WSBK ride, Melandri’s shift in direction could be related to rumors that Davide Tardozzi, current team manager to BMW’s WSBK squad, is taking over the role of Yamaha’s Mario Meregalli, who is in-turn rumored to be going to the Factory Yamaha team in MotoGP.

Leaving Team Marco, as Gresini Honda has lovingly been called this year, Melandri is slotted to be taking the seat of Cal Crutchlow, who will be leaving Sterilgarda Yamaha for a ride in MotoGP. Crutchlow has had a strong showing in WSBK this season, and won the WSS title last year for Yamaha. Next year the Englishman will ride with Monster Tech3 Yamaha, where he’ll likely be partnered with Colin Edwards.

Melandri is a former 250 GP World Champion, and has finished as highly as 2nd in the MotoGP Championship with five MotoGP race victories to date in his career, along with an additional 10 250 GP victories.

“I’m very happy with this new challenge, it’s a big change and I want to fight for world superbike wins,” said Marco Melandri. “It’s nice to be back with Yamaha; I know many people there; I was very young when I rode with them before, now I’m much more mature. As the reigning 2009 champions The Yamaha Sterilgarda Team have proved to have a very competitive package and are one of the top teams in World Superbike. I realise Superbike is not easy and I know I have to work hard. I’m looking forward to feeling the adrenalin again and fighting for the championship.”

Source: Yamaha &