Melandri: First Ducati win payback for sacrifices

Marco Melandri says his debut Ducati win in Sunday’s second race at Misano was ‘payback for all the sacrifices’ he and his teammates have made this season.

The 2002 250cc world champion made a return to WSBK this year after a year on the sidelines after he left Aprilia midway through the 2015 season.

After crashing out on the final lap in race one, Melandri made up for it on Sunday as the Italian raced to the front after starting in 10th on the grid to grab first place on the 13th lap.

Melandri then pulled away to earn his 20th WSBK win and his first since France in 2014.

It also marked the 100th win for an Italian in the championship.

“This win means so much to me,” Melandri said afterwards.

“It’s my first with Ducati and first on Italian soil but also the 100th by an Italian in WSBK.

“It’s the result of a lot of effort, a composed attitude during some difficult moments, and great teamwork.

“We never stopped believing in ourselves, and this result is a payback for all the sacrifices.”

Melandri said that he now hopes to continue with his good form in the next round in the US next month, and that injured team-mate Chaz Davies – who missed Sunday’s race after fracturing his spine in a crash in race one – will be alongside him.

“We made a small change to our set-up this morning, and before the start I was sure I could have a go at it,” said Melandri.

“During the race, I tried to manage my pace and, once I took the lead, to ride smoothly.

“I hope Chaz recovers soon, he had a nasty crash but fortunately without serious injury. I hope to be able to fight for another win, this time with him on track as well, at Laguna Seca.”