Aprilia and Marco Melandri have finally reached an agreement, which sees the Italian freed from his contract to ride for the Noale-based team.
Melandri, who has failed to score a single point this season on his return to MotoGP, has cut an increasingly sad and forlorn figure as the season on has progressed, constantly out-qualified and out-raced by his team-mate Alvaro Bautista, as well as the rest of the field. Melandri made it clear from the outset that his move to the series from WSBK was very much against his wishes, and his results, his body language and his outbursts on social media made it clear that the situation wasn’t tenable for either party.
A statement released by Aprilia this morning ahead of this weekend’s German MotoGP at the Sachsenring said: “Aprilia Racing and Marco Melandri have reached an agreement by mutual consent to terminate the contractual obligations between Marco Melandri and Aprilia Racing.
“Consequently, Marco Melandri will no longer be lined up on the grid with Aprilia Racing starting from the German Grand Prix on 12 July.
“Aprilia Racing wishes Marco Melandri all the best in his future endeavors.”
Melandri will be replaced in the team for the remainder of the season by Michael Laverty, the former PBM MotoGP rider who was racing in BSB with the Tyco squad.
Laverty, who is Aprilia’s test rider and currently sits in seventh in the BSB standings for Tyco BMW, said: “I’m excited to be back on the MotoGP grid this weekend for the German GP. Competing against the regular guys racing MotoGP is a tough task, but I am relishing the opportunity.
I have been riding with the Aprilia test team so I am comfortable with the Aprilia RS-GP machine and the Bridgestone tyres. Firstly I must adapt the race bikes to suit me and then look to keep progressing throughout the weekend. Álvaro has been riding strongly in this first half of the season and I have witnessed some great development work through the test team. I now look forward to being a part of the racing team.”