Marco Melandri has revealed he spent a significant portion of the 2013 World Superbike Championship suffering with a debilitating bout of glandular fever.
Making the revelation on the day he confirmed he will ride for Aprilia Racing in next year's championship, Melandri went into more detail about a 2013 season in which he was expected to challenge for the title but would instead end the year fourth with three wins to his name.
Already hampered by a shoulder injury during the early stages of the year, an ailment not helped by a dramatic collision with Carlos Checa
in the first race of the season, Melandri said he began to feel unwell with a 'sore throat' after Portimao, but would go to feel worse from Imola.
“In May, I began to feel good and I started to train normally [following the shoulder injury], then immediately after a large Portimao I had a sore throat. Usually after three or four days of antibiotics it would go completely, but this time it was taking weeks.
“At Imola I was a mess - I could not breathe, move my legs and arms and suffered with the heat like never before in my life. I thought it was the effect of the antibiotic with the heat, but it was glandular fever.
“It was far worse in Russia than at Imola – even on the Friday Andrea Dosoli [team manager] realised that I was not well and asked me why I was so hot despite the cold. From Imola onwards I had not trained a single day, as I could not go above 140bpm. I was depressed, I thought to take a break for a few races because I was not sure I could bear it.
“Luckily for me, the race was wet and I was able to run well [he would go on to win the race], but Silverstone was the same. I could not breathe, I had not been able to train and I felt super heavy in legs and arms - I was really demoralised. Once again it was a strange race because of the weather and I more or less passed OK.
“Thankfully the summer break gave me time to reflect and understand my physical condition. At the Nurburgring, I arrived a week early to train for about 20 minutes at medium intensity, not more than 150bpm and from that point I started to have good feelings again.
Melandri would also go on to reveal how he managed to injure his foot ahead of the final WSBK round at Jerez, claiming he was 'walking backwards' when he missed a step and twisted his ankle.