Marco Melandri says his costly elimination from the penultimate round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Portimao did not occur because he was riding aggressively, insisting he wasn't aware Max Biaggi was on his outside when they made contact and came down.
Occurring on the opening lap of the first race, Melandri was dicing in the front pack when he attempted to regain a position he had just lost to Biaggi. However, the slippery conditions, coupled to the proximity of Biaggi's Aprilia, caused Melandri to lose the front end of his BMW and fall.
Though the accident itself was fairly innocuous, Melandri was then struck by the unsighted Chaz Davies, causing contusions to his back and cracked ribs that ruled him out of the second race, in doing so all but ending his 2012 title hopes.
Having undergone further checks in Portugal, Melandri has since returned home to Italy, but having watched the incident back on television he admits he is 'confused' by the original incident.
“After Sunday's crash I feel better day by day although my back and right side still feel sore,” he said. “When I watched my crash on TV, it really looked confusing. I do not want people to think that I wasted the races for nothing. Actually when I was on the bike, it was simply impossible for me to do any different, as I did not see Max.
“I really hope to be fit for the final races in Magny-Cours. I simply want to jump on my S 1000 RR, have some fun and finish the races in the best possible way and position.”
Despite the injuries, Melandri is expected to compete in the final round of the 2012 season at Magny-Cours, where he still has an outside chance of winning the title. According to Dr Vincenzo Tota, provided Melandri gets rest, he should be able to compete at almost full strength in France.
“The two ribs are not linked to the sternum, so they are not involved in breathing that much. Even if they are broken, it is not so painful,” explains Dr. Vincenzo Tota. “Another positive thing is that they are not misplaced. It is not a total fracture, but more a small crack. Marco now has to rest and avoid stress to the area.
“For the race weekend we will apply a taping to reduce the range of motion of the chest. Therefore it will not be painful and will be easy to handle.”
With Biaggi going on to score points for fourth and third in Portugal, Melandri is now 38.5 points adrift with only a maximum of 50 points available.