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Melandri returns to MotoGP with Aprilia

Melandri returns to MotoGP for the first time since 2010

MARCO Melandri is set to return to MotoGP, joining Alvaro Bautista at Aprilia for 2015.

Melandri achieved six wins and five other podiums in the 2014 World Superbike championship with the Aprilia Racing Team.

He was MotoGP runner-up in 2005 riding an RC211V with Movistar Honda, and 250cc world champion in 2002.

Melandri said: '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.'

Announced in September, Aprilia Racing signed a contract allowing Gresini Racing to manage the Aprilia bikes on track in MotoGP for four years starting with the 2015 season.

Aprilia Racing Director Romano Albesiano explained: '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.'

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