The Ducati Factory WSBK outfit has announced Marco Melandri will be riding its Panigale R in 2017, the 34-year-old replacing Davide Giugliano.
Melandri will partner Chaz Davies, the Welshman who is spearheading the Italian’s current campaign, and a move which will see the former BMW team-mates reunited.
Davies, 29, is currently in the middle of his third season with Ducati and, thus far, has secured nine wins and 32 podiums overall on the Panigale R,while Melandri return to the series which has seen him claim 19 wins and 49 overall podiums in 100 races.
The Italian said: “I’m really excited to come back to racing, it’s a dream come true. I always said I was only interested in a top bike and top team, and I could not have asked for more. I kept following WSBK closely, and I’m confident the Panigale R can perfectly suit my riding style.
“We’ll just have to take one step at a time, but the potential is surely high. I know it won’t be easy to get back up to speed, but I have all the time to step on the bike, do laps and make sure I’m ready for the first test: to this end, I will skip the holidays to train on a street version of the Panigale R.”
The move means Davide Giugliano will be looking for a new ride after three seasons with the team.
The Roman said: “I had a great time with Ducati. I learnt a lot and was given a wealth of experience to draw upon, which is really important for a young rider. We also faced some difficult times, especially last year when I was badly injured, but we’ve always stayed close.
“We have decided to take different paths, but our relationship remains strong: I’m still young, so we may rejoin forces in the future. I sincerely wish Melandri the best and would like to thank everyone in Ducati, especially Paolo Ciabatti, and Aruba.it for all their support. It’s been a great journey, which has yielded great results despite the fact that we would have liked to do more, but I’ll give my best until the end of the season to achieve bigger goals.”
give him all our support until the last race to help him achieve the results he deserves.”