Superbike Imola: Marco Melandri “I’m there!”

Just before the World Superbike Round taking place at Imola we interviewed Marco Melandri. The start of the season was a bit more complicated than expected for the rider from Ravenna, but for sure he will be one of the main protagonists of Italian Round. The rider’s motivation remains very high and the way he analyzes his career is very mature. At Imola Melandri will first of all try to “have fun” on his Ducati, without caring too much of championship standings. A small, big man with no regret; by contrast, he’s thankful for his 20-year-long career, which has made him more “reflective”. The fight will be very close, but the #33 rider has no fear and he’s conscious of his potential. Moreover, Racing – Ducati Team is working to give him a motorcycle that suits his riding style.


You’re one of the most experienced riders in the championship. How does it feel to race again at the highest level at Imola?

“Well, it’s fantastic, because Imola is part of the history of motorcycle racing, especially for a rider like me, from Romagna. I think we’re heading to Imola at the right time: we had some difficult races, but ten days ago we were in Brno for some testing and it was very useful. So I’m sure that I will do great racing at Imola. Motivation is at the highest”.

During your career you were fast in every championship you took part in. How can you still find the motivation to race at such level?

“I think the most important thing is to have fun. When you ride a motorcycle, you have fun like I currently have and everything turns easier. It always feels like the first time, I can’t believe I’ve been racing for 20 years!”.

Do you have fun in spite of the “nervous” Ducati we saw in Thailand, Spain and the Netherlands? 

Not that much, honestly (laughing). But the positive thing is that we tried to fix it and at Brno, where we understood most of the issues and fixed them.”

Maybe 2018 World Superbike season has been dismissed with too much superficiality, because the level of competitiveness is still high. What do you think about it?

“This season will be very exciting and the result will be decided just at the end. If you love racing, motorcycling and sport, you will have a lot of fun. “

2018 WorldSBK boasts a lot of great riders with important stories, and all very motivated.

“Yes. In any case you have to set a realistic goal according to how you feel, the moment you’re living and your competitiveness. By the way, it’s always amazing when many riders can fight for the win”.

This is your home round. Do you feel any pressure?

“Well, I imagine it, also because our team will have a great support there”.

What about renewing your contract with Ducati?

“To be honest, we haven’t talked about it yet. Now my priority is fighting for the podium and win again. Then, we’ll see”.

In order to go back on the podium and fight for the win again, you need to be 100%. Do you know what you need, so that the team can help you in giving your best?

“From Imola both me and the team have high motivation. It’s always stimulating to race on home soil. In any case, the team is working to make me fast not just at Imola, but at all the next races. After Brno Test, we’re more sure that we can go back to the front”.

Summary: the rider is ready and the bike seems better, so everything is set to aim for great results.

“Yes, absolutely”.

How do you approach Imola Round?

“I live it in the moment. Brno Test was very important and I approach these races with much confidence, because now I enjoy riding my Ducati again. Usually I get great results, when I enjoy riding. With no pressure, I think we can aim for great results”.

Now you’re adult. Without considering that now you’re one of the best riders in the championship, how has your personality changed, compared to the beginning?

“When I started racing I was very young, so it’s impossible to make a comparison. Experience makes you change a lot, or it makes you grow up, I’d rather say. I’m more mature and methodical and now I analyze things in a more rational way”.

Do you have any regret? Are you happy with your choices?

“I would repeat everything I’ve done so far, because all the past experiences – both right and wrong – made me who I am. All in all, my personality has been shaped by 20 years of racing”.

Photo Credit: Diego De Col 

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