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Marco Melandri

Marco Melandri

Marco Melandri

Last season he was the revelation of the MotoGP championship in what was his third year in the premier class and, after capping off a superb season with two victories, Marco Melandri finished the 2005 campaign as runner-up to World Champion Valentino Rossi – a performance that has undoubtedly made him one of the riders to watch in 2006.

The career of the affable Italian from Ravenna begun in the world of motocross and minibikes. He made his debut in the World Championship at the age of just 15 and rapidly became one of the stars of the 125cc class, although he did not manage to take that particular crown, just missing out in both 1998 and 1999.

He moved into the 250 category with Aprilia despite not having a world title to his name. Gradually he established himself as one of the best riders in the quarter litre class and started the 2002 season as the hot favourite to take the title. Melandri lived up to his billing, taking nine victories that year as he finally clinched his first world crown.

That triumph secured him a ride in the MotoGP class with Yamaha, but his adaptation to life in the elite category and to his new bike was not as rapid as he would have hoped and results in his first couple of seasons were somewhat disappointing. In 2003 and 2004 he managed only two podiums, top-three finishes at Montmelo and Assen providing his most memorable moments.

However, his decision to change teams and join Fausto Gresini's outfit saw a change in fortune. Melandri demonstrated from the beginning of the 2005 campaign that he would be one of the riders to follow sitting second in the championship at the halfway stage after a series of fine performances. He suffered a dip in form over the summer than raised questions over both his ability and maturity, but finished the season in magnificent style by following up his debut win in the class at Turkey with a second consecutive victory in the final round at Valencia.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2005

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