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Melandri gets Speedcar drive.

Marco Melandri's two-wheeled future may still be up in the air, following Kawasaki's factory withdrawal from MotoGP and no final decision on attempts to keep the ZX-RRs on the grid as a privateer entry, but the Italian has wasted no time in finding a four-wheel drive.

The former 250cc world champion and MotoGP World Championship runner-up, who was expecting to make his factory Kawasaki debut at Qatar on 12 April, will instead make his Speedcar Series debut at the same Losail International Circuit this weekend (12-14 February).

The Italian will drive a second Team Lavaggi entry alongside former F1 star Heinz Harald Frentzen, in what will be his four-wheel debut on a permanent race circuit.

Speedcar is a one-make NASCAR-style competition featuring identical 620bhp machines. Based in Dubai and taking place across Asia and the Middle East, the series has succeeded in attracting several big names from the four-wheel racing world, including 1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve. Former F1 racewinner and Le Mans champion Johnny Herbert is the reigning Speedcar champion, while other grand prix race winners including Frentzen and Jean Alesi also compete.

Some 14 drivers, across seven teams, will compete at Losail during what will be Speedcar's first night race.

“Valentino Rossi has already shown that those guys also know how to race a four-wheel-vehicle,” Speedcar regular Christopher Zoechling said. “I am sure Marco will do well, although our cars are pretty hard to handle.”

Melandri, who - like Kawasaki team-mate John Hopkins - missed the opening MotoGP test of 2009 at Sepang last week, has stated that he will consider taking a year off if he doesn't conclude a deal by the end of February.

The next MotoGP test is also due to take place at Qatar over 1-3 March.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Melandri, Valencia MotoGP Test 2008
Nakagami, Oliveira, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Edgar Pons, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Isaac Vinales, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Schrotter, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Cortese, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Quartararo, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Pawi, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Isaac Vinales, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Quartararo, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Aegerter, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Kent, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Luthi, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Morbidelli, Luthi, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Morbidelli leads start, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Vinales overtakes Dovizioso, Qatar MotoGP Race 2017
Rossi, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Smith, Qatar MotoGP 2017

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Joeski - Unregistered

February 10, 2009 10:48 PM

You know...Marco had one bad season with Ducati and all of a sudden all the haters are sprouting up..The guy has potential for being a World Champion he needs to get on a factory honda or Yamaha! He is faster than JT and Colin put together...and although I respect Colin and JT...If I had a choice to put someone right now on a factory bike it would be him! Unfortunately Ducati was an unfufilled opportunity! Go MARCO!

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