Marco Melandri Signs With BMW For 2012 WSBK Season

After Yamaha announced that they would cease factory support for their World Superbike team, the team's two riders, Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty, became two of the hottest properties on the World Superbike rider market. Interest was especially keen for Melandri, the former MotoGP winner making a huge impact on his first foray into the World Superbike series, the Italian having switched to WSBK after leaving MotoGP at the end of 2010.

Melandri had offers of factory rides from both Aprilia and BMW, but the prospect of being stuck alongside his arch rival Max Biaggi, in the certain knowledge that he would be the number two rider in the Aprilia garage persuaded Melandri to head to the German manufacturer alongside Leon Haslam. There is still plenty of work to do at BMW - the homemade electronics system is notoriously complex to set up causing problems with tire wear - but if Melandri can help get that sorted using his experience of MotoGP-level electronics (still a couple of years' ahead of the systems used in WSBK) then BMW may finally be able to make the breakthrough to regular wins that they have been looking for. The BMW S1000RR provides an outstanding basis to be competitive, and the aim is for Melandri and Haslam to help the factory make the next step.

The official press release announcing Melandri's signing appears below:


Marco Melandri lines up alongside Leon Haslam for BMW Motorrad Motorsport in 2012.

Munich/Stephanskirchen, 2nd October 2011. BMW Motorrad Motorsport has confirmed its second rider for the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship: alongside Britain's Leon Haslam (28), 29-year-old former MotoGP rider Marco Melandri (ITA) will ride the second BMW S 1000 RR for the team from Munich and Stephanskirchen.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Bernhard Gobmeier says: "We are really looking forward to working with Leon and Marco. I am convinced we will have arguably the strongest rider's line up in the Superbike World Championship field. We are delighted to have two riders who are both hungry and experienced for the coming season. That is the next important step for our team." Gobmeier adds: "Marco has performed brilliantly this season, even during difficult periods. He impressed us in his first season in the championship, and we are pleased to be able to welcome him into our team."

Profile: Marco Melandri

Date of birth: 7th August 1982
Place of birth: Ravenna (ITA)
Place of residence: Ravenna (ITA)
Family status: Engaged
Height: 1.66 m
Weight: 60 kg
Hobbies: All kinds of motorsports, cycling, music
Passion: Bikes
First bike: Malaguti Grizzly 50ccm
First race: 1989, Mini-Bikes, Cattolica (ITA)
Career highlight: 250ccm World Champion (2002), 2nd MotoGP (2005)
Superbike World Championship record: 22 races, 12 podium finishes, 3 wins, 5 second and 4 third places, 1 pole position, 3 fastest race laps
Website: www.marcomelandri.it

 

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Comments

Has been rider of the year for me.. He's dealt with the upheaval of moving to a new bike and paddock showing real class at times, and not just with his racing..who can forget how cool he played "Max the slap" at Donington.

Haslam and Melandri is an awesome line-up for BMW, they just need to give them a bike..or more precisely, an electronics package.
British Eurosport interviewed Marco yesterday during their coverage and he confirmed they were hoping to bring over some guys from the Yamaha team to BMW, with him. I'd imagine some electronics technicians could head that list or will Munich continue to throw their own in-house car solutions at the bike?

Saying this..Bridgepoints purchase of WSBK and an expected dumbing down of the series, potentially with spec electronics, may make it a moot point in the future..

Either way, it will be interesting to see..good luck to him.

Ditto the above!

But what happened to Troy Corser - is he retiring ? This article doesn't mention his displacement @ BMW.

I don't think he's ever raced a Kawasaki... maybe he can complete the set before he goes?

In my opinion Marco should have gone to Ducati. Even if it wasn't a factory backed machine. We've seen with Carlos last year, Smrz this year, that a privateer Ducati is still pretty damn good.

He is taking a huge risk by going with a bike that is not sorted. If he doesn't do well, it's gonna be tough. I hate to see him wasting away for a couple years again in no man's land.

And I would think if he did well on a Duc, the factory would be pretty quick to provide him with some support. Especially being Italian.

BUT, this is great news for BMW, hopefully he can help get the bike sorted and make them as competitive as they deserve.

Marco is still one of the fastest riders, on any grid, and after the screw job on him and Laverty by Yamaha, I 'm glad that he found a quality ride. BMW are getting better every year and I feel that Melandri will give them their best year ever.

He's raw, a bit primitive, a brave rider with a questionable karma and unsophisticated politics. I hope his luck turns around, although the history of the Munchen men cooperating with Italians is rather dissapointing. I wish him the best and a title --at least. For me he could dominate to WSBK for years to come, provided he gets a decent ride.

Does any1 really think Marco could even pass outside Borgo Panigale? It is more probable that he quits eating pasta, than working for the company that sent him to the shrink, for questioning it's "divine" designs.
Yes, BMW is a big risk, with potentially equally big rewards. And Biaggi won't be 4 much longer with Aprilia... So that door will soon be open and possibly lead to still one more Italian dream-dueto.

While he didn't win 3 titles for Aprilia, he didn't slam the door in their face to ride a Honda like Max did. So I'm sure there would still be some enthusiasm in Noale.

But first, let's wish him the best on the propellor-bike :)

It's hard to know if the R1 was a good bike or not. Of course it's changed a lot since Spies and likely for the better. Marco and Laverty might just be the class of the field. The BMW is looking better even if it's not finishing any higher. If not wins in 2012 at least regular podiums. It's also good to see the smaller MotoGP guys like Melandri can ride the bigger Superbikes. With Stoner leading the way at Honda and Simoncelli lurking, Pedrosa's HRC days are numbered.

Marco would be taking a step backwards going to BMW, if they keep persisting with their home grown electronics...BMW should bite the bullet and use the italian or whatever else is available in the electronics department.... Actually I would have liked to see him on the Aprilia next to Max and give Max a hard time...look at all the mistakes Max made this year whilst under pressure....imagine what it would be like with Marco as his teamate.....fireworks...bring it on...