With BMW Motorrad pulling the plug on its World Superbike racing effort, and letting the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK team disband, speculation has been rife as to where riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies would land for the 2014 WSBK season. We already know that Chaz will join Davide Giugliano at Ducati Corse next season, but what about Marco?
Well according to the Italian this week, Melandri will fly the Tricolore with Aprilia Racing for 2014 — presumably taking Eugene Laverty’s spot in the factory-run team. Lapping around Jerez on an RSV4 at the end-of-the-season WSBK test, Melandri’s move is perhaps not a shock for anyone following World Superbike, and the announcement already makes him a favorite for the championship next season.
Melandri’s announcement was brief in length, though straight to the point. With his contract at BMW Motorrad coming to a conclusion on October 31st, Melandri simply posted the words “Aprilia Racing” to his Twitter feed, along with a mock-up of his new Aprilia Racing leathers as his account cover art.
Melandri will join Sylvain Guintoli at Aprilia Racing, though it remains to be seen whether Eugene Laverty will remain with the Noale brand, perhaps on a factory-supported machine in a private team. The latest WSBK paddock rumors suggest that Laverty is instead headed to the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team with Alex Lowes, with an eye on a move into MotoGP for 2015. As always, time will tell.