Having seen his World Superbike title hopes scuppered by his failure to score points at the Nurburgring and Portimao, Marco Melandri at least had the satisfaction of ending his 2012 season with another podium, even if he does also take home some more bumps and bruises.
A season that promised so much just a month ago when he led the standings by a relatively comfortable 18.5 points, though Melandri's disastrous German and Portuguese rounds had effectively ruled him out of the title battle heading to Magny-Cours, he kept fighting to secure a second place finish in the first race.
Doing so despite struggling with the back injury he sustained at Portimao, BMW's Melandri was delighted with the rich reward for his efforts.
“It felt good to finish a race on the podium again after the last two unfortunate race weekends,” he said. My BMW S1000 RR was working very well. In the first couple of laps of race one I was still struggling a bit with warming up the tyre, but once the tyre was working I could go at quite a good pace. Anyhow, it was a tough race and I did not want to 'overpace' and risk too much.
“Unfortunately the track dried up more and more, which did not play into my hands. When I finally passed Tom the track was not really wet anymore, and in these conditions I had no chance to follow Sylvain [Guintoli] who really showed a strong performance.”
However, Melandri's year would end on another painful note when he suffered a spectacular exit from the second race, the Italian picking up more injuries in the process.
“The track conditions were very difficult in race two. I pushed 100 per cent but I could not change direction quickly. When I crashed I must have hit a wet patch, and I lost the rear of my RR. My back and my leg are very sore now.”
Melandri will remain a BMW rider in 2013, though the factory will revert its backing to the current GoldBet Italia team. He will be joined by Chaz Davies.