The great experiment that is Marco Melandri’s return to motorcycle racing has apparently paid off, with the Italian rider re-signing with the Racing – Ducati team for the 2018 World Superbike Championship season.

The contract renewal is for only one year, with Melandri continuing to ride alongside Chaz Davies on the Ducati Panigale R superbike. Of course for the 2019 season, Ducati Corse will race in WorldSBK with its new V4 superbike, at which time both its riders’ contracts will be up for renewal.

After taking a year-and-a-half-long hiatus from racing, Melandri has scored an impressive seven podiums in WorldSBK so far this season, which includes an important home-crowd race win at Misano.

Details on Melandri’s contract haven’t been released, but the Italian was rumored to be riding for free this season, as part of his bid to return to motorcycle racing.

Ducati has surely seen the value in the Italian rider though, and we expect the deal announced today includes a pay check equal to his racing worth.


“I’m really happy for the opportunity to prolong this professional collaboration, which represented a new beginning in my career as a rider,” said Melandri.

“Together with Ducati and, we enjoyed some really memorable moments, while in other occasions I think my long break from racing affected our performance, so I’m sure there’s still plenty of room to improve.”

“To this end, continuing with the same team and the same bike represents the best possible opportunity to achieve higher goals. I’m ready to tackle a new season with more experience and confidence, and it’s a challenge that makes me incredibly happy.”

“First of all, however, we need to finish the current championship as strongly as possible. With five rounds to go, we’ll always give our 100 percent and assess our performance in the end,” he finished.

Source: Ducati Corse