Could Marco Melandri be heading back to MotoGP next season?
With no ride secured for 2014 after his Goldbet BMW team confirmed they would be leaving World Superbikes at the end of the season – the third team since his move to fold after Melandri joined them – rumours have been flying about where the Italian could end up next season.
With a phenomenal superbike record, there shouldn’t be a shortage of takers. Both Kawasaki and Aprilia are apparently keen on securing his services, with Aprilia looking favourites after news that Goldbet were considering being title sponsor for the Aprilia team, however he would face stiff competition from the two existing riders, as well as team mate Chaz Davies, this is where MotoGP comes into play.
Aprilia are keen to become major players in MotoGP, and with the base set up for the ART machine, Aprilia are considering investing a lot of time and money into MotoGP, and Melandri is seen as the perfect man to lead them back, much like Biaggi was for their superbike return back in 2009.
Melandri could join as existing ART team such as Aspar alongside Aleix Espargaro, with a view to using his knowledge and experience in the paddock to help Aprilia.
However Aprilia aren’t the only interested party, with Forward Racing also said to be keen on securing Melandri for 2014. Forward racing look to have a deal to use Yamaha M1 engines tied up for next season, and again Melandri’s understanding and knowledge – as well as being Italian in the Italian team and an Italian sponsor – could really help the team progress working alongside, or possibly replacing the vastly experienced Colin Edwards.
With Nicky Hayden loosing his ride, Melandri has serious competition for a lot of the mentioned possibilities, however Melandri is perceived to be favoured due to age being on his side.
Wherever Melandri end’s up, he will just be hoping that his new team don’t fold after a year.