Marco Melandri has secured a new one-year deal with Racing Ducati to partner Chaz Davies for the 2018 World Superbike championship.

The 35-year-old replaced Davide Giugliano in the factory Ducati line-up next to Davies for 2017 and has claimed one race win along with six additional rostrum results to put him fourth in the riders’ championship at the summer break.

Having impressed the Ducati management on his return to racing after a year out in 2016 having split from the Aprilia MotoGP operation midway through 2015, Melandri has been rewarded with another one-year deal for 2018.

“I’m really happy for the opportunity to prolong this professional collaboration, which represented a new beginning in my career as a rider,” Melandri said. “Together with Ducati and, we enjoyed some really memorable moments, while in other occasions I think my long break from racing affected our performance, so I’m sure there’s still plenty of room to improve. To this end, continuing with the same team and the same bike represents the best possible opportunity to achieve higher goals.

“I’m ready to tackle a new season with more experience and confidence, and it’s a challenge that makes me incredibly happy. First of all, however, we need to finish the current championship as strongly as possible. With five rounds to go, we’ll always give our 100 percent and assess our performance in the end.”

Ducati Corse general manager Luigi Dall’Igna feels Melandri has achieved his initial result goals and has faith he can continue to progress in 2018 with both Ducati riders aiming for the world title.

“We’re really happy to consolidate our efforts in the WorldSBK Championship based on continuity, both in terms of the technical package and the riders’ roster,” Dall’Igna said. “One year ago, Marco started a new adventure with great enthusiasm, showing his talent since the very first outing with the Panigale R despite coming back from a long absence. His qualities are quite obvious, as shown by the results achieved thus far this year.

“That said, we believe we can reach even more ambitious goals together. With Melandri and Davies, our target is obviously the championship title, both in the Riders and Constructors standings.”

With Melandri signing a new one-year deal he will partner Davies who enters his second and final year of his existing contract with Ducati for the 2018 World Superbike championship.