After Breaking Up with Aprilia, Marco Melandri Rumored to Go to WSBK with Ducati

Marco Melandri is rumored to be back in racing action aboard a Ducati in the World Superbike. Last week we reported that Aprilia and Marco Melandri reached a mutual agreement to end their contract in MotoGP.
Marco Melandri in the old Ducati days 1 photo
Melandri was not even elected to make the trip to Sachsenring for yesterday's race, as Aprilia employed the services of their former test rider and MotoGP athlete Michael Laverty. The initial rumors indicated that Melandri could be drawn to a collaboration with Yamaha, as the house of Iwata will make its return as a full factory team with the all-new YZF-R1 bike in 2016.

Still, with five WSBK rounds remaining this year (Laguna Seca in the US, Sepang in Malaysia, Jerez in Spain, Magny-Cours in France, and Losail in Qatar), it's hard to believe that Melandri will prefer to just sit and wait for a 2016 offer.

Gazzetta Dello Sport believes Melandri will join Althea Racing.

The Italian sports magazine Gazzetta Dello Sport publishes an article that claims that Marco Melandri is most likely going to ride a WSBK-spec Ducati Panigale for Althea Racing, a factory-supported private team with long-standing, good relations with Ducati.

Gazzetta says that Ducati's factory team already has Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano as contracted riders (currently fourth and seventh, respectively), so adding Melandri to the mix is improbable to say the least. Althea Racing runs a two-rider team comprising Matteo Biocco and Niccolo Canepa (10th and 25th, respectively), and Melandri could be reportedly making his debut when the series returns to Europe. That is, the Jerez round on 20 September might be the occasion we get to see Marco Melandri riding a Ducati once more.

Back with Gigi Dall' Igna

If the rumors are true, Melandri will be once more working with Gigi Dall'Igna. Melandri and Dall'Igna have worked together when they were both at Aprilia. Moreover, Gazzetta Melandri has the same manager who worked with Carlos Checa when he was close to retirement.

Checa eventually won 15 races in 2011 and got the only WSBK title in his career. Althea is also described as a team that can "regenerate riders", and Gazzetta believes we could expect Melandri returning to Superbike glory if he indeed joins Althea Racing.
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