Marco Melandri says he is excited about the prospect of joining Aprilia for an assault on the 2014 World Superbike Championship, the manufacturer with which he clinched his first international title more than a decade ago.

After weeks of speculation, Melandri was formally confirmed as joining Aprilia Racing over the weekend, the Italian switching from outgoing manufacturer BMW to replace Eugene Laverty and join Sylvain Guintoli.

Melandri's move signals a return to Aprilia for the former MotoGP front runner, the 31-year-old having won the 250GP World Championship riding one of the firm's prototype machines in 2002.

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It also means Aprilia will have an Italian rider within its factory team for the first time since Max Biaggi's retirement at the end of 2012, a factor that Melandri admits gives him added satisfaction heading into the 2014 season.

"Coming back to ride the brand that brought me my first World Champion title is - first and foremost - very exciting," he said. "Speaking from a human and personal point of view, there are so many memories that tie me to Aprilia and they are memories of victories.

"In all these years Aprilia has demonstrated its worthiness in racing, winning one world title after another, so I am sure that I will find an environment where we are always ready to compete for victory.

"From a technical point of view, I am quite anxious to race on the RSV4, a bike that I have done battle with many times on the track. I think that she and I will... get along well, but the track, the first testing sessions and above all the races to come will give us the answer to that one. And then I think that riding an Italian bike into battle for the world title is amazing for an Italian rider. So follow along with us. It's going to be an exciting and fun season."

After several seasons in MotoGP, Melandri made his WSBK debut with Yamaha in 2011, marking his arrival with a run to the runners-up spot behind Carlos Checa, switching to BMW in 2012, Melandri notched up six wins en route to third overall before finishing fourth in 2013 with three further wins to his name.