Multiple WorldSBK race winner Marco Melandri very nearly never got a ride of any kind this year, but his fortunes swung around in the end, as he landed a strong ride in the new GRT Yamaha WorldSBK effort.

The team may be promotees from the WorldSSP Championship but as a very closely linked team to the official Pata Yamaha set-up, everyone expects this combination to have a strong potential.

Especially Melandri, who was not gong to come back unless he had a good ride. He had seriously thought he was all done at one stage.

“The only way to be on the grid this year was to get a good bike,” he explained at the Jerez tests. “Finally, when this was all put together with Yamaha and GRT, and everybody knew which bike and materials we would have, I could say that I would be competitive and that I wanted to go ahead and keep racing. To just be here as a number would mean (it was) time to find something different in this world.

“After the last race in Qatar I felt at one with myself, knowing I could be finished. Even if it wasn’t going to happen then, I know that it will happen in a few years and no more than that. Suddenly your life has to change and I was ready for that, even if inside I still feel very young and that I have a lot to do in World Superbike.

“I was ready for whatever was going to happen. I’m very happy to be back and still on the grid but I never let myself dream too much.”

Melandri tested a Yamaha at the end of last year at Jerez, but was unable to speak about it, but now he can but was unhappy with some parts of the track.

“We have wasted a lot of time because of track conditions, like an hour. But I am happy because the feeling is good. I’m still lacking something but we still need to try new weight balances, suspension settings and so on. We’ll try more together to see what can be better for me.

“We are all using the same swingarm, I think. The new one which we only had one of in November. For my riding style it looks like we are good. We still have to understand many things like wheelbase and weight distribution. Everything starts from zero.”


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