Marco Melandri says battling back from his cruel DNF in race one at Jerez to clinch second place in race two felt like a victorious return for Aruba.it Racing Ducati.

The Italian rider was leading the Jerez opener with four laps to go but saw his ambition of a first win since Misano cruelly ended by a technical issue in the closing stages.

Fighting through the pack from 10th place on the starting grid, Melandri felt victory could have been on had he not got caught up in a battle with Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark but was still thrilled to secure second place.

“Second place, at the end of such a hard race, feels almost like a win to me,” Melandri said. “Starting in 10th, I knew it would have been hard to climb back through the field. Rea had the pace to pull away by himself, and I wanted to stay with him from the very start.

“I was recovering positions quickly, but then I lost time with van der Mark after a contact at turn 5. We could have tried to hunt down Rea together, but it turned into a fight that made us lose time.

“After that, all I could go for was second place, but it felt good to finally be able to fight with Chaz until the very end. I’m confident ahead of Qatar, we’re still improving.”

Melandri is now guaranted to finish fourth in the World Superbike riders’ championship regardless of results at the season finale in Qatar due to the points gap on him in the standings.

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