Marco Melandri is gearing up for the final race weekend of his career as he retires at the end of the 2019 World Superbike championship.

The 2002 250cc world champion will bow out after the season finale in Qatar by calling time on his 22-year career in international racing spread between the Grand Prix and World Superbike championships.

The 37-year-old says he has no regrets reflecting on his racing but admits his final season has given him mixed emotions having struggled to fight at the front for GRT Yamaha. Melandri has recorded three rostrum results so far this campaign and currently sits ninth in the World Superbike championship going into the final round at the Losail International Circuit.

“Qatar will be my last race weekend before retirement, which means I head there with mixed emotions,” Melandri said. “On one hand I’m a little sad because racing has been such a huge part of my life and I had hoped to bow out on a higher note, as the results this season don’t reflect my potential and are not how I want to be remembered.

“Conversely, I’m also happy to have made the decision to stop, especially after such a difficult season. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in my racing career, but now it’s time to turn the page and start a new chapter in my life.

“Qatar is a beautiful place to race, especially under the floodlights, and I’ll have many friends around me this weekend as I race for the last time. The goal is to finish as I started, by giving it my all and pushing for the best result possible.”

Melandri will hope to add to his 22 World Superbike race wins to cap off a stellar career which began in the Grand Prix paddock as he progressed from 125cc to MotoGP between 1997 and 2010.

Across all Grand Prix categories the Italian rider notched up 22 wins, including five in the premier class, with the highlight of his 2002 250cc world title plus his two runner-up championship results (1999 125cc and 2005 MotoGP).

Melandri made his World Superbike debut in 2011 with Yamaha, ending his rookie year runner-up in the championship to Carlos Checa, before a brief return to MotoGP with Aprilia in 2015. The Italian has spent the final three years of his career back in World Superbikes, initially with Ducati, before a final campaign with GRT Yamaha.

 

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