Marco Melandri stops racing comeback after just four WorldSBK rounds

Marco Melandri returns to retirement just four WorldSBK rounds into his racing comeback following a disappointing stint with Barni Ducati

Marco Melandri - Ducati WorldSBK

Marco Melandri has announced he is retiring from motorcycle racing again just a month after returning to the WorldSBK Championship, due to a lack of competitiveness.

The Italian originally hung up his leathers at the conclusion of the 2019 campaign following a disappointing year on the GRT Yamaha, but was back in action from round two of the interrupted 2020 WorldSBK season as a replacement for Leon Camier in the Barni Ducati.

At the time Melandri - a three-time MotoGP race winner and 2011 WorldSBK runner-up - said he expected to be quick from the off on the Ducati Panigale V4 R, a machine he thought would suit his style having questioned the manufacturer for ditching him in favour of Alvaro Bautista at the end of the 2018 season ahead of the bike’s introduction.

Ducati Panigale V4 review | Visordown test

However, Melandri has struggled to find his form on his return, a pair of top ten results the only highlights from the four events he started with the privateer Italian outfit.

Admitting the return had been harder on him physically than he anticipated, Melandri concedes he now has the ‘answers’ he needs to evaluate whether he still has the spirit and fitness to compete at a high level

“It was a hard choice, but I had to listen to my physique,” he said. “I was back with great enthusiasm, but this died out race after race when I realized that my characteristics are different from this bike. Recovering ground during the race weekends is really hard. 

“My idea was to come back to have fun and good races, but, despite the great job made by the team, I have never found the right feeling with the bike. In these conditions there were no reasons to go on, I talked about it with open heart with "Barni" and give space to a young man who has grit and hunger is the right choice. 

“Regrets? Not at all. If I had not had this experience I would have wondered how it would have gone, now I had the answers, unfortunately they were not what I expected. 

“Anyway, I would like to thank the whole team for the commitment, for me It's time to look ahead on a way that I had already decided to take. I wish the Barni Racing Team a lot of good luck for the future.”

Samuele Cavalieri to replace Marco Melandri

Following on from Camier - whose slower than expected road to recovery from injury led to his axe - Melandri’s exit will see Barni call upon its third new rider for 2020, with Samuele Cavalieri called up for the final three events. The youngster competes with Barni Ducati in the Italian CIV Superbike series.

“I am very happy with this opportunity and first of all I want to thank "Barni" and his team. My goal is to gain experience, I will be among great riders and I will have to learn from everyone. Work with method is the key point. 

“I've never be on the saddle of this bike and I want to take one step at a time, without setting goals. I also want to thank all the people who have accompanied me so far, my family and my sponsors, I hope I can give them the satisfaction they deserve.”