Marco Melandri says he will support the victims of the recent earthquakes in northern Italy by competing in a special helmet during this weekend's World Superbike round at Misano, before auctioning it for charity.

The local rider was in the vicinity of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on May 29th which killed 17 people and destroyed many buildings in north east Italy. It came just over a week after a 4.0 earthquake and a series of aftershocks killed 7 people in the Emilia-Romagna region.

With Misano just south of the affected area, Melandri and his BMW team-mate Leon Haslam have expressed their sorrow for the victims of the quakes, with the former announcing he will ride with a special helmet at this weekend's event, before auctioning it off for charity afterwards.

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"My thoughts are with all the people who were affected by the earthquake," he said. "We could feel it quite strongly at my home, as the epicentre was not far from my house. In Misano I will use a special helmet and I want to sell it in an auction after the race to support the people who lost everything in these hard times. I am trying to do what I can to help a little."

"After the earthquakes in Italy, my thoughts are with the people in the region around Modena, who are going through a difficult time," added Haslam. "Italy is a second home for me, as me and my family spend a lot of time there."