Melandri Confirmed With Sterilgarda Yamaha In World Superbikes For 2011

Hard on the heels of the announcement that Cal Crutchlow will be moving into the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team comes confirmation of his replacement in the Sterilgarda Yamaha team he leaves behind. As reported previously, current Gresini Honda rider Marco Melandri will be making the switch to Yamaha's World Superbike squad, taking the seat vacated by Crutchlow. 

Below is the official release from Yamaha, and the official announcement of Melandri's departure from Gresini Honda:


Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team confirms Marco Melandri for 2011

The Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team has signed an agreement with Italian MotoGP rider Marco Melandri to join the World Superbike Championship for the 2011 race season. 28yr old Melandri will replace current Yamaha Superbike rider Cal Crutchlow who stays within the Yamaha family, moving to MotoGP to replace Ben Spies on The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 bike.

Melandri is a former 250cc GP World Champion and has finished as highly as 2nd in the MotoGP Championship with five MotoGP race victories to date in his career and a further 10 250ccGP 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."

"Marco is a great signing for the World Superbike Team. He has massive experience at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing and is extremely motivated to have the opportunity to challenge for race wins again. Whilst it is sad to see Cal leave us to move on up in the Yamaha family we are excited to have a serious title contender such as Marco joining us." Said Yamaha Motor Europe Racing Manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp.


MARCO MELANDRI AND TEAM SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI TO PART WAYS AT THE END OF THE SEASON

The last round of the current season at Valencia will also mark the end of the collaboration between Marco Melandri and Team San Carlo Honda Gresini. The two parties will go their separate ways following a difficult season that owes much to Melandri's unfortunate accident at the Dutch TT. After enjoying fantastic seasons together in 2005, 2006 and 2007 Marco Melandri and Fausto Gresini were reunited this year through a strong friendship that they hoped would translate into equally strong results on the track. Team San Carlo Honda Gresini would like to thank Marco Melandri and wish him the very best for his next challenge, with the hope that this current adventure can finish in the best way possible.

"I would like to thank Marco for this season on behalf of myself, our sponsors and everybody who works with the team," Fausto Gresini - "I'm glad that we were able to spend another season together because we are great friends and I hope that we can achieve the results that have eluded us so far in what remains of the championship. I encourage him to take on his next challenge with great determination and I am sure he can be as successful there as he was with us in 2005, 2006 and 2007."

"It was a difficult decision because this is the best team I have worked with in my career," said Marco Melandri. "But I felt that I needed a new challenge and the genuine opportunity to be back fighting for wins and podiums led me to make this choice. It will be a big change for me but I would like to thank Fausto and everybody else at Team San Carlo Honda Gresini for the opportunity they gave me this season. Unfortunately it hasn't worked out as we hoped but there are still plenty of races left this season and we will be doing our best. I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the team because they have given 100% to the job and always believed in me - the guys at the track, back at home, in the hospitality and obviously the sponsors who always back us up. They have all helped me grow and taught me a lot of things. I have learnt a lot about the important values of this sport and above all of life. I am sure we will stay close friends and maybe one day with my new business venture I can come back to sponsor them!"

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Comments

I think it is great to see Marco next year in the WSBK-paddock. I remember the years, when he was supercompetitive in the days of literbikes in MotoGP. I can hardly wait to see the results of the first test after the end of the season. I am not sure if the R1 is a top ride this year - Melandri's laptimes will tell something about it though - but with the supposed coming of Tardozzi&co I bet it will be. Anyhow, good luck to Marco and lets see some real fight again! :)

Total votes: 56

Yes I too am looking forward to seeing Marco in WSBK. He is a great rider, much better than his results have been the last few years.

I don't think the R1 is too much different than last year. It is still probably the third or fourth best on the grid.

I think Marco will be a tough competitor next year.

Total votes: 61

Remember that Aprilia's big HP maker, the gear driven cam kit, is being banned next year unless Aprilia decides to put it in all their RSV4s and not as an add on kit.

So with that, I think the playing field will level out quite a bit. Its very clear that those cam kits were giving the Aprilia a very big advantage. Tosland and Crutchlow have been competitive on the bike that Spies won with, so Id say that while it may 3rd or 4th best, its not a distant 3rd or 4th and is definitely capable of winning a world championship.

I think its great that if guys arent competitive in MotoGP anymore, they are going to WSBK. I mean how many times had we seen guys, high quality competitive racers, go to WSBK after GPs? Biaggi was one of the first wasnt he? Most of them retired or went to national series. The fact that MotoGP is becoming more specialized to a specific type of riding is one of its many problems, but WSBK is willing to pick up the riders spit out and unappreciated by the GPs. I really wish that Ducati hadnt folded the Xerox team. I was hoping to see CEII kick some ass there again! Forget farting around for 8th-last place. Screw that. I want to see the man with a smile on his face from winning again. Edwards needs a BMW ride maybe... Go out on top like Troy Bayliss perhaps... Give BMW its first title... S1000RR Edwards Edition at your local Bimmer dealer? It would put a smile on my face.

Total votes: 54

It's hard to imagine that he just "lost it" . On the Gresini satellite 990's he convincingly won races and was second in the championship. Other than Stoner, no one has come to grips consistently with the Ducati. Look what he achieved on the Hayate and that was a seriously lo-budget operation. The Gresini Honda 800's, for whatever reason, probably Honda related, re specs, software, etc, do not seem to have had "it".

What a difference in the Tech 3 Yamahas the upgrades made. IMO the way the Japs manipulate the results is self defeating in the long term, well short term now that the chickens are coming home to roost. And some riders pay the price.

I just hope he gets a competitive Yamaha WSB for 2011.

Looking at the Moto GP rules, no one should ever underestimate the power of stupid people in groups.

Total votes: 81

Yes, not that long ago Melandri was a convincing MotoGP rider. Someone who, at the end of the season, would not have had any worries about being in the field next season -- some team would have made a place for him. He had a factory ride at Ducati. His performance last year on the Kawasaki probably gave his career a small boost that it needed after that disaster at Ducati. Now you have to ask: Whose idea was it that he not ride for Gresini next year? His or the team's? And did he accept an offer to ride in WSBK because he felt his chances of landing a spot next year in MotoGP were so poor?

Anyway, always liked his persona, so I wish him well. Perhaps we'll see him back in MotoGP someday. Although I wonder how many guys have accomplished that...? Elias may be one to do it soon.

Total votes: 69

Melandri didn't forget how to win any more then Pedrosa did when he was so slow earlier this year. Clearly, his move to Ducati was a disaster, but he didn't know that when he signed. I am impressed he is joining the factory Yamaha Superbike team. It appears Marco would rather fight for wins there then be a grid filler. It's good for World Supers too. They'll have what, 5 world champs and another 5 challengers that could do a double on any given weekend. That's pretty deep!

Total votes: 66

No chance of getting near tilte contention in GP on sattelite machinery.
Every possibility of going for it with Yamaha in SBK.He's easily young enough to make a GP return in 2012 perhaps with CRT 1000cc machinery.
Good move by Marco regarding his future. A tallent like him can do better than fight for scraps in GP right now.

Total votes: 67

Good move for MM. He has a fighting chance to get his mojo back now. Does this also open the door a bit further for Dovi to go to Gresini? Surely there has to be something happening there soon.

Total votes: 57

Not enough bikes on the grid, you can't even get a proper replacement rider, yet there's not a proper place in MotoGP for the likes of Melandri... this is not good.

Hopefully Melandri is first in line to move up when Colin decides he's had enough, or if Crutchlow falls flat.

Hopefully he brings "it" big time to WSBK.

Total votes: 68

I always liked Marco. I wish he'd been hired by Denning things may have gone differently. His remarks to Capirossi, as much as I like him, were spot on. Time to move on and let a young gun get going...same for Edwards.

Total votes: 54

Agree completely! I like Capirossi, but his time has come and gone. Why he continues to get offers in MotoGP is beyond me. There are a lot of good young riders out there with lots more potential.

Total votes: 67

Am I the only one who thinks he will ride around in 5th to 10th with JT and cry up a river about the bike?

He would not be my first pick.

Total votes: 55

I'm with Les on this one. While the Internet Motorcycling Community makes excuses about Marco having to get used to Pirelli tires and inferior "production" based machinery, he'll be running around mid-pack. But it won't be his fault of course.

Total votes: 64

good for him, he certainly has been around the block.

Total votes: 54

Especially as an ex-250 world champion. If he can ride the R1 like he did the RCV211 then great. Trouble is WSBK machines behave more like 800's than the old 990's nowadays.

I tend to agree with Les & Rumerz' predictions. The RCV212 is a very good machine. A man of Melandri's experience and talent should be doing more with it, at least running with the pre broken leg Randy. Love to be proven wrong though.

Total votes: 61