RETIREMENT AT 37
GP 1998 – WSBK 2019: Melandri will stop competing at the end of the year
Marco Melandri, soon to be 37 years old, has just announced that he will hang up his gloves and leather at the end of this 2019 season. The famous n ° 33 is about to conclude a career of more than 20 years at the highest level, crowned with a 250 Grand Prix title and numerous victories in 125, 250, MotoGP and World Superbike…
Born on August 7, 1982 in Ravenna (Italy), Marco Melandri obtained his first title – national – at the age of 15 in 125 motorcycle speed. Also in 1997, Loris Reggiani’s colt finished 4th in the European championship and made his Grand Prix debut in Brno, where he finished in an anonymous 17th place.
From his first full season on the Intercontinental Circus, however, the young "Hedgehog" showed spice: after a series of second places, he won the "TT d’Assen" at the age of 15 years and 324 days, a precocity record that has lasted ten years (Scott Redding and Can Öncü have since beaten it).
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The Rocky rookie is awarded in 1998 a remarkable bronze medal … The following year, because of an injury contracted at the beginning of the season and despite five victories obtained afterwards, he goes to 1 point of the gold medal. The prodigy climbs without delay in the intermediate category.
In 2000, the now famous n ° 13 swapped his Honda 125 for an Aprilia 250 and instantly found his marks: he chained the Top 6 – and a few withdrawals – then a series of third places to finish fifth in the world championship..
Marco accelerates in 2001, collects the podiums and takes his first victory in GP250, which allows him to take the world n ° 3 plate, behind the Japanese Kato and Harada. This time, the Italian persevered and won the title in 2002, before joining his compatriots in the premier category….
Gold, silver (x2) and bronze (x2) medalist in Motorcycle Grand Prix
When Melandri arrives in MotoGP – the GP500s are just scrapped – the Rossi, Biaggi and Capirossi trio are in the sky. At the controls of his factory Yamaha M1, the "beginner" struggles to integrate the Top 10 and fails to a frustrating 15th place.
His stint in 2004 at Tech3 (Yamaha still) was crowned with two podiums, but weighed down by too many crashes and dropouts. The n ° 33 (12th in the championship) was then hired by Fausto Gresini, alongside the brilliant Sete Gibernau…
Site readers – who, as everyone knows, are a little more fortunate than the others – then follow the motorcycle Grand Prix races turn by turn (!) And witness Melandri’s best season in the premier class, which corresponds to unfortunately for him, to the most beautiful of Rossi also !
Author of 16 podiums including 11 victories in 17 races, "The Doctor" crushed the competition in 2005. With 367 points registered, the n ° 46 is 147 lengths ahead of his runner-up in the championship: Marco Melandri "himself"! But the following year, amazement: Rossi is dethroned.
Less consistent than the 2006 champion and the late Nicky Hayden, less conqueror than Valentino Rossi and less surprising than Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri is excluded – for a point – from the Top 3 in MotoGP and will no longer reach it, whether on Honda RC212V , Ducati GP8, Kawasaki Hayate ZX-RR … and even less riding the Aprilia RS-GP which he didn’t want in 2015 !
Still on Site, fans of the "Macho" had the pleasure of accompanying their idol in the second part of his rich racing career: the World Superbike. They remember that upon his arrival in 2011 within the official Yamaha team, Marco made sparks !
Not far from the World Superbike title in 2012 with BMW
Without reproducing the exploit of Biaggi (winner of his first WSBK race), Melandri is however stronger than his elder by winning four victories in his first season and a new silver medal in the end! The Iwata factory then leaves the championship, forcing the vice-champion to find a new mount: it will be the official BMW, for two seasons….
The collaboration between the n ° 33 and its S1000RR reached its peak in the first year: the duo took the lead in the 2012 championship with three races to go … But the fine Italian-German mechanics got stuck. Or rather, the fragile mind of the transalpine cracks, so that Biaggi and Sykes pass in front of him! The following year, Marco finished 4th.
BMW abandons WorldSBK at the end of 2013? Marco returns to Aprilia, thirteen years after his coronation in "two-and-a-half". He adds six wins to his impressive WSBK record but finishes one point from a bronze medal that goes to the obstinate Jonathan Rea, then Honda Ten Kate rider on the aging Fireblade..
After a heartbreaking 2015 half – season in MotoGP and a sabbatical year in 2016, Melandri returned to the World Superbike within the prestigious official Ducati team. In the shadow of his teammate Chaz Davies, he still finds "his" fourth world rank in 2017, and slips one place in 2018.
Hired this winter by the Yamaha GRT team – freshly titled in World Supersport with Sandro Cortese who also rises in the "queen" category of production motorcycles – Marco Melandri has had a checkered 2019 season, which alone illustrates the character: one day capable of competing with the greatest, the next day completely transparent.
"Making the decision to stop competing was very difficult," says Marco. "I had been thinking about it for a while and, before the Imola race (after the trying events in Aragon and Assen where he did not join the Top 10 in the race, Editor’s note), I finally decided to stay there at the end of the 2019 season ".
"Better to stop while I’m enjoying running"
"I am always competitive and I think it is better to stop while I am enjoying running, rather than waiting for the pleasure and the results to become more difficult to obtain", believes MM93 MM33, twice on the podium, in Jerez just a month ago.
"Since making this decision I feel like I’ve been released from a huge weight and now that everyone knows it’s my last year I’m even more motivated to get good results in the last few races ", warns Marco who will be racing this weekend at Laguna Seca, where he hopes to return to his best level.
"It would be good for me, because I would like to start off on a good note, but it would also be a fair reward for the confidence that Yamaha and the GRT team have placed in me. The season has been difficult", admits Melandri, currently 9th. provisional, "but they worked so hard to help me realize my potential. They never gave up on me and I hope my experience has helped the team adjust to WorldSBK a little faster.".
"I can’t wait to finish my final season with them and I intend to give it all, treat every round as a qualifying round and push to improve myself and bring the results to the team. that it deserves ", enthuses the pilot who does not reveal his retirement plan…
"Then it will be time to move on and do something different in my life. It has been a fantastic adventure for me: thank you to everyone I have met along the way", concludes Marco in the official press release from his team (his thanks on social networks are detailed, see the translation at the bottom of the article).
Provident, Marco Melandri took advantage of his break in 2016 to set up an online store, at his home in Ravenna, in order to sell in Italy and all over the world products for road, off-road or track motorcycles, and leisure clothing. or technical equipment, spare parts, accessories, helmets, gloves, masks, etc..
Like Biaggi or Rossi, Melandri could also capitalize on his name and launch a team in Moto3 or World Supersport 300? During his new free time – and not dead – he can especially get laid more often with his attractive companion in his little plane. He will also take great care of his daughter … and lead her in Ana Carrasco’s footsteps, who knows? Stay connected !
Marco Melandri, his statistics in GP and WSBK
- Grand Prix 125
- 3 seasons: 1997-1999, 428 points
- 29 starts, 17 podiums, 7 wins
- 6 poles, 5 lap records in the race
- Vice-champion in 1999 (Honda)
I can’t find the words, maybe I’ll never find them. It is only today, reading all these messages, that I realize that all the sacrifices and the difficult times were not in vain. I would like to say a thousand things and at the same time I would like to leave room for the words that each of you would like to read.
Thank you to my special wife Manuella, who gave me strength in difficult times and gave me the most beautiful trophy, our Princess Martina.
Thanks to my family.
Thanks to my manager Alberto Vergani with whom we had incredible moments of sport and life, we even pissed off people by winning … Thanks to my historical sponsors Nolan, Spidi, Gaerne.
Thank you to those who gave me the opportunity to start and go for a ride.
- Loris Reggiani
- Livio Suppo – Mauro Benetton
- Massimo Matteoni
- Carlo Pernat
- Ivano Beggio
- David Brivio
- Hervé Poncharal – Fausto Gresini
- Claudio Domenicali / Luvio Suppo
- Andrea Dosoli (Hayate, Yamaha and BMW SBK)
- Marco Riva and Maio Meregalli – Bernhard Gobmeier
- Gigi Dall’Igna
- Cecconi / Foti / Casolari
- Filippo Conti / Mirko Giansanti
I had the honor of working with high level technicians who taught me so much. There is no box in MotoGP where I do not know at least one technician who has worked with me.
Thank you to the fans but also to others for the stimuli.
Thank you to all my rivals on the track for the good battles and for teaching me to never give up !
Thanks to the sponsors who allowed me to run in teams where nothing was missing.
Now I wanna end the season fighting like it’s the first year.
And finally, thank you to my friends, my collaborators. We also had fun and will continue to do so! We have encouraged each other in the hardships of life by trying to make fun of each other as much as possible.
Hope I didn’t forget anyone, but I ran too long and got too many hits on the head! Oh yes ! Thanks also to those who have talked about motorcycles on TV, in the newspapers and on the web.
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