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Melandri to join BMW in 2012

The Italian became the big target for several manufacturers following the announcement that Yamaha was to withdraw at the end of the 2011 season.
BMW has announced that it has signed Marco Melandri for the 2012 World Superbike Championship season to become the first team to confirm its full rider line-up.

The Italian has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks following the announcement that Yamaha was to withdraw its manufacturer-backed team at the end of the 2011 season, Melandri linked with the likes of Honda, Kawasaki and a privateer Yamaha deal.

However, the former MotoGP rider has opted to join Leon Haslam at BMW for 2012, underlining the manufacturer's determination to become winners at World Superbike level.

Indeed, BMW Motorsport Director Bernhard Gobmeier feels that arrival of Melandri alongside Haslam creates the strongest line-up in World Superbikes.

“We are really looking forward to working with Leon and Marco,” he said. “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.”

“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.”

Melandri made his World Superbike debut with Yamaha this season, quickly establishing himself as a front runner by winning only his third race at Donington Park. Further wins have followed at Brno and Motorland Aragon, with the Italian now set to end his maiden year in second position overall.

Melandri and Haslam will spearhead BMW's fourth season in World Superbikes, where they will be keen to make amends for a 2011 season where the German marque has been quick, but not a race win contender. So far, the manufacturer has amassed only four podiums in three seasons, though it is set to beat Kawasaki, Honda and Suzuki in the 2011 manufacturer standings this year.


Tagged as: BMW , Marco Melandri , Leon Haslam

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Melandri, French WSBK 2011
Melandri, French WSBK 2011
Melandri, French WSBK 2011
Melandri, French WSBK 2011
Melandri, French WSBK 2011
Melandri, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Melandri, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Melandri, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race2, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race2, Qatar WSBK 2016
Shanley and Ron Haslam, WSBK Race2, Qatar 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race2, Qatar WSBK 2016
Jonathan Rea and Haslam, WSBK Race1, Qatar WSBK 2016
Jonathan Rea and Haslam, WSBK Race1, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race1, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, WSBK Race1, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016
Haslam, Qatar WSBK 2016

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trr - Unregistered

October 02, 2011 10:34 AM

I dont agree with the last part. Sykes usually beats the BMWs as the season progressed this year so the ZX-10R seems to me a pretty fine racebike now. Actually I think it is the second best japanese one after the R1 but it is still at the beginning of its development path. Marco could have been a title contender on the 10R, his chances on the Beemer I am not so sure about. Haslam was a title contender against Biaggi last year but he still can not get usual podiums, let alone a win on the BMW. So he is a damn fine racer, not sure if Melandri is that better than him. On the other hand Sykes is also a very good rider but I have to rate Marco even better thats why I think he would be better on the 10R that was developed by his ex-MotoGP team.

MD - Unregistered

October 02, 2011 4:52 PM

Sensible move. Full factory bike. Relaxed autumn and winter knowing you've a good job for 2012. He's not 30 yet, so when he looks at Checa (and Bayliss before that) why should he worry if the bike's not a winner immediately? He knows that he's fast, and that he's got years left in the sport.



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