Marco Melandri has declared he's fit and ready for his World Superbike return with Arbua.it Racing Ducati after over a year out of racing.
Melandri has replaced Davide Giugliano in the factory Ducati squad alongside Chaz Davies as he gears up for a return to racing for the first time since splitting from Aprilia midway through the 2015 MotoGP season.
The 2011 World Superbike runner-up's preparations for this season were stalled after needing surgery on the meniscus in his right leg after sustaining an injury in a charity football match in November.
Melandri says he's back at full fitness and despite opting out of a race simulation in Jerez due to blisters on his hands the Italian still completed 124 laps over the two-day test, with a best time of 1m 40.313s to put him fourth fastest, and is readying himself for the second pre-season test at Portimao on the 28-29 January.
“It's been a really positive test. I expected some more difficulties after the meniscus surgery, but actually I felt quite well,” Melandri said. “The team is doing a great job and everyday I feel more comfortable on the bike.
“We still struggle a bit on fresh tyres, also because with the cold climate it's more difficult to warm them up, but we're heading in the right direction.
“I would have liked to do a race simulation, but we'll wait until Portimão because I had some blisters in my hands after such a long break. Physically I feel fine though, I recovered completely and I'm sure I'll be 100 percent fit for Phillip Island.”
Melandri returns to World Superbikes for the first time since 2014 when he finished fourth in the riders' championship for Aprilia before his ill-fated switch to the Italian manufacturer's MotoGP squad the year after.