Marco Melandri has announced he is retiring from motorcycle racing for the second time in just under a year after failing to get to grips with his Ducati Panigale V4 R on his return to WorldSBK Championship action this season.

The decorated Italian - a 250GP World Champion and three-time MotoGP race winner - originally hung up his leathers at the end of the 2019 WorldSBK season after a disappointing year on the GRT Yamaha, but was back in the saddle by round two of the 2020 campaign after being hired by Barni Ducati to replace Leon Camier.

Billed as something of a redemption by Melandri after being dropped by the Ducati factory team in 2018, he hoped to demonstrate what it was missing once paired with a Ducati Panigale V4 R that he felt would suit his style.

However, the opposite would instead be true, Melandri struggling to find his form on the machine, with a pair of top ten finishes on his return in Jerez the scant highlights of a disappointing four-event stretch for the veteran.

Admitting his ‘enthusiasm’ had been dampened by spending many races fighting back from lowly grid positions, Melandri has decided to cut short his comeback.

“It was a hard choice, but I had to listen to my physique,” he said. “I was back with great enthusiasm, but this died out race after race when I realized that my characteristics are different from this bike. Recovering ground during the race weekends is really hard. 

“My idea was to come back to have fun and good races, but, despite the great job made by the team, I have never found the right feeling with the bike. In these conditions there were no reasons to go on, I talked about it with open heart with "Barni" and give space to a young man who has grit and hunger is the right choice. 

“Regrets? Not at all. If I had not had this experience I would have wondered how it would have gone, now I had the answers, unfortunately they were not what I expected. 

“Anyway, I would like to thank the whole team for the commitment, for me It's time to look ahead on a way that I had already decided to take. I wish the Barni Racing Team a lot of good luck for the future.”

Barni Ducati will now go through another rider change but will this time promote internally with its CIV Italian Superbike contender Samuele Cavalieri given the nod.

The youngster has some form on the WorldSBK stage having scored points on his debut with Motocorsa Racing in a wildcard outing at Misano last year. He currently sits second overall in the CIV Superbike standings.

“I am very happy with this opportunity and first of all I want to thank "Barni" and his team. My goal is to gain experience, I will be among great riders and I will have to learn from everyone. Work with method is the key point. I've never be on the saddle of this bike and I want to take one step at a time, without setting goals. I also want to thank all the people who have accompanied me so far, my family and my sponsors, I hope I can give them the satisfaction they deserve.”
 

 

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