The 2014 MotoGP season just ended on a high note, with Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda making and breaking many records. The 2015 season promises to be even bigger with two new teams all set to fight the dominance of Hondas and Yamahas. Aprillia and Suzuki MotoGP are joining the next season. While the Suzuki announced both its riders long ago, Aprillia only finalized one rider.
In the latest news, Aprillia announced its second rider too, completing the lineup for the team. Marco Melandri has been announced as the second rider to join Alvaro Bautista, who was signed with the announcement of the team. The rookie rider in MotoGP is a seasoned rider in the WSBK (World SuperBike Championship) and race for the Aprilia there too. He took 6 wins and another 5 podiums that contributed significantly to the WSBK Manufacturer Title that the Italian Brand won.
1982 born, Melandri started young in Minimoto championship winning Championship in 1992 and 1994. He then moved to 125cc category and won the Italian championship before moving to the 125cc world series where he finished a third and second in 1998 and 1999 respectively. The Melandri-Aprillia bond started with 250cc category when he finished 5th in 2000, 3rd in 2001 and became the champion in 2002.
Marco Melandri moved to WSBK in 2011 and he finished second in his rookie season, announcing his presence. Finishing third in 2012 and fourth in 2013, he finished his 2014 WSBK season at the fourth position again. In all, he has won 22 races and been on the podium 62 times in various MotoGP categories, while in SBK he has taken 19 wins and 31 podiums.
“I was offered the chance to develop a completely new project and it is something that I have not yet done in my career since I have always had ‘inherited’ bikes. Precisely for this reason I am very intrigued by this challenge. I am working with a company and a racing department which sought me out and with which I want to continue to work in order to develop and grow a great project. Aprilia Racing has always demonstrated their ability to make great bikes and make them fast. I’ll put in my efforts. Our goal is quite ambitious: to grow a bike and at the same time to develop a new prototype that will race in 2016. It will be a demanding season and a lot of work but we are ready to take on these challenges,” said Melandri.
As announced in the beginning of September, Aprilia Racing has signed an agreement with Gresini Racing, according to which, Gresini Racing will manage the Aprilia bikes for for four years starting with the 2015 season. In its brief history of motorsports, Aprilia boasts 54 World Titles (38 in MotoGP, 7 in Superbike and 9 in off-road disciplines) which make it one of the most victorious brand ever.
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Director said, “With Marco Melandri the last piece of the puzzle has been put into place for Aprilia’s participation in next year’s MotoGP season. These have been very intense and exciting days where in just a few hours we went from the last round of Superbike at Losail to this new adventure in MotoGP. We are very pleased to announce Marco’s signing because this completes our team in the best way possible on the eve of a great challenge: with Melandri we now have an all-Italian bike-rider duo. We are moving into MotoGP a year ahead of schedule on wings of enthusiasm because of the double world Superbike championships we have just won. We moved our schedule up because we want the most demanding tracks and the most competitive championship in the world to gauge the quality of our work. Aprilia’s 54 world titles, the hundreds of wins on tracks all over the world give proof of technical skills and a winning attitude that deserve the limelight of the most prestigious stage.”