WSBK Rider of the Year vote: 4th – Marco Melandri

Marco Melandri picks up six more wins, but only fourth in the standings and fourth in the WSBK Rider of the Year poll
4th – Marco Melandri
Average poll score out of ten: 6.7
Team: Aprilia Racing
Bike: Aprilia RSV-4
Wins: 6
Podiums: 11
Poles: 0
Fastest Laps: 3
Best Finish 1st
Championship points: 333
Championship position: 4th

A diminutive Italian with a proven track-record at the highest-level of the sport riding a compact Italian Superbike… there were certainly parallels to be drawn by Marco Melandri's move to Aprilia Racing as he looked to emulate friendly foe Max Biaggi before him and earn himself a much-desired WSBK title to boot in 2014.

Indeed, this was the deal that World Superbikes had foreseen since 2011, so it was little surprise that Melandri began the 2014 season as a cautious favourite despite a less than spectacular build up during pre-season testing.

Podiums in the opening two rounds suggested Melandri had quickly found his mojo on the RSV4, only for him to slip into an unusually anonymous lull far removed from being one of the series' most spectacular and aggressive riders.

Struggling for rhythm on the bike, Melandri found himself cast adrift from the title battle after just five events and under pressure from the top brass in Aprilia, who were far from satisfied with their pricey signing. With 'rumours' looming over him, Melandri returned to his best in Malaysia with a comprehensive double win and from here he looked every inch the potential title contender as podiums and wins followed in all but the final round.

Unfortunately for him, Melandri's personal efforts were not enough alone to get back into contention, requiring also the added intervention of poor luck to strike his rivals

It meant that, despite topping the podium at Laguna Seca, Jerez and Magny-Cours, crashes at Portimao and in the USA would contribute to him ending the year 83 points behind his title-winning team-mate despite notching up more race wins.

Losing out on 'bronze' to Jonathan Rea in the final race summed up Melandri's disjointed season and he is unlikely to be enthused by the statistic that he is now the second most successful WSBK rider in terms of race wins yet to celebrate a title (behind Nori Haga).

For the time being we will be denied the chance to see if Melandri could possibly turn in that elusive championship as he (reluctantly) makes the return to MotoGP with Aprilia, but while few doubt he will be back soon, the jury is out on whether he will be better than ever.

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013: 4th
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2012: 4th
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011: N/A
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2010: N/A
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009: N/A

Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...

WSBK Rider of the Year poll results so far
5. Chaz Davies
6. Davide Giugliano
7. Loris Baz
8. Leon Camier
9. David Salom
10. Alex Lowes

About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Riders' World Championship standings, the WSBK Rider of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results.

Over 40,000 votes were cast for the 2014 WSBK Rider of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of the top twenty from this year's WSBK standings with a mark out of ten.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Melandri bike, Qatar WSBK 2014
Sofuoglu, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu championship helmet, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu championship helmet, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Bassani, WSS Race, Jerez WSBK 2016
Black, SSTK1000, Jerez WSBK 2016
De Rosa, SSTK1000, Jerez WSBK 2016
Puffe, SSTK1000, Jerez WSBK 2016
Staring, SSTK1000, Jerez WSBK 2016
Kennedy, SSTK1000, Jerez WSBK 2016
Guarnoni, SSTK1000, Jerez WSBK 2016

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.