Marco Melandri

Marco Melandri was born on August 7th 1982 in Ravenna (Italy) and like many other racers, began his racing career in minibikes, winning the Italian title in two seasons: 1992 and 1994. He then switched to one-make racing, winning the Honda trophy in 1996 and this triumph took him into the Italian 125cc Championship which he won on his debut in 1997. In the same year Marco also took part in the European championship and made his debut in the 125cc world championship at Brno as replacement for an injured rider. In 1998 Melandri competed in the 125cc world championship on a regular basis in a factory team, winning two races (Assen and Brno) in his debut season and finishing third overall in the final standings. He was again competitive in 1999, winning five grands prix and finishing runner-up, but he could have won the title had he not missed the opening two rounds of the championship because of an injury.

The 2000 season saw Melandri race in 250cc, where he finished fifth overall, and this result was followed by a third place the following year. Marco was now truly ready for championship success and in fact in 2002 he was crowned 250cc world champion after dominating the season and winning nine races. Melandri moved up into the MotoGP class, but a series of crashes and retirements in the first two years forced him to miss some rounds and he could only finish 15th overall in 2003 and 13th in 2004. Marco joined Gresini’s team the following year and proved to be remarkably successful, taking the runner-up slot in the world championship following two wins at Istanbul and Valencia.
Fourth in 2006 and fifth in 2007, Melandri concluded his three-year stint in the team by always ending up as best classified non-factory rider in the championship. These results earned him a call-up from the Ducati MotoGP Team, which in the meantime had won the 2007 world title with Casey Stoner. The 2008 season however failed to live up to expectations, both for Ducati and Melandri. At the end of the season he moved to the Hayate Racing team for one year before returning to Gresini in 2010, with whom he scored a tenth place overall.

In 2011 the Italian switched categories and made his debut in World Superbike, scoring his first win in the second round at Donington and going on to finish runner-up. In 2012 and 2013 Melandri continued in Superbike, finishing respectively third and fourth at the end of the two seasons. Marco was again fourth in 2014, while in 2015 he returned to the MotoGP category, but this adventure came to a conclusion half-way through the season. After a year off in 2016, the Italian rider returned to form part of the Racing - Ducati team for the 2017 season. In his first year on the Ducati, Melandri claims one memorable win at Misano (which marks the 100th triumph by an Italian in SBK) and several podiums to finish 4th in the general standings