Confirming the news we reported yesterday, Marco Melandri has made his retirement announcement official. As such, the 36-year-old Italian will hang up his leathers for good, at the end of this year’s WorldSBK Championship season.
Melandri’s career spans three decades of racing, and includes some impressive feats, but his results this season have surely been the deciding factor on today’s announcement.
Currently ninth in the WorldSBK Championship standings, Melandri’s season has seen high points at Phillip Island and Jerez, but has otherwise been a forgettable affair. This surely has been the cause for Melandri’s lack of motivation to continue racing.
I am not sure about this one, but the word out of Italy is that Marco Melandri is set this week to announce his retirement from motorcycle racing. Naturally, we are intrigued.
The rumor comes from La Gazzetta dello Sport (the same publication that’s also currently saying – quite dubiously, we might add – that this will be Jorge Lorenzo’s last season racing in MotoGP), and now the sports magazine suggests that Melandri is ready to hang up his leathers after a tough year back in WorldSBK.
As we expected, the GRT Yamaha squad is moving out of the World Supersport Championship, and into the World Superbike Championship for the 2019 season.
Riding for the GRT Yamaha squad is not who we expected however, though it will be two big names in the sport: former world champions Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese.
Melandri makes the defection from Ducati, where he was reportedly paying for his ride, to Yamaha. He hopes to best his fifth place in the 2018 championship standings. Meanwhile, Cortese comes into the World Superbike racing having just won the World Supersport Championship title.
Factory-backed in World Supersport last year, the GRT Yamaha team will keeps its factory status next year as well, which leaves Yamaha with four factory-backed YZF-R1 racing machines on the grid in 2019.
WorldSBK’s South American adventure saw the history books once again rewritten by Jonathan Rea with the Northern Irishman claiming a tenth consecutive victory.
The world champion claimed a comfortable win on Saturday, the series first ever race in Argentina, but after weekend of cleaning a dirty and dusty track it was the temperature that caused problems on Sunday.
With over 110F temperatures on the asphalt, it was as slick a surface as many riders could remember with overnight rain also washing away any rubber that had been put down on the surface. It was easy to make a mistake, and coming from the third row of the grid, Rea certainly made his fair share in the early laps.
Once on clear track however, he was imperious, and comfortably the fastest man on track. He used this advantage to charge down Xavi Fores, and claim a historic double that broke the long-standing record of Colin Edwards (2002) and Neil Hodgson (2003) for most consecutive victories in WorldSBK.
The final European round of the WorldSBK season sees Magny-Cours play host to Jonathan Rea’s first attempt to make history by winning a fourth consecutive championship.
The Northern Irishman is on the cusp of history, and he clinched the title here 12 months ago.
Jonathan Rea may have done the double at the Italian circuit, but WorldSBK was in rude health last weekend. Continue reading for Asphalt & Rubber’s World Superbike debrief, from Misano Italy.
When you talk to veterans of motorcycle racing about which American could be the next champion at the international level of the sport, one name is almost always included in that very short list: Cameron Beaubier.
This is not only because of Beaubier’s status as a two-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion, but also his experience abroad.
A promising young rider, Beaubier impressed during the 2007 Red Bull Rookies Cup season, which found him some riders on the international stage before returning to the USA.
Now a proven talent on domestic soil, along with his experience abroad, Beaubier is an easy pick to make when looking for Americans to promote to a paddock like the WorldSBK Championship.
And now that is exactly the case, with the Cameron Beaubier tipped for ride in World Superbike next season.
With Jonathan Rea’s future firmly set at the Kawasaki Racing Team, the focus this past weekend at Laguna Seca was on the future of his teammate, Tom Sykes.
The Yorkshire man had spared few words in the media for his team and teammate in the days ahead of the California round, and he certainly wasn’t holding too much back once he was at Laguna Seca.
You could almost smell the smoke emanating from Sykes, a result of the bridge that was being burned behind him.
Sykes is 99.9% not riding with Kawasaki for the 2019 World Superbike Championship season, and he finds himself as one of the top picks in the paddock in the rider market.