2002 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri has announced his retirement from racing today at a press conference in Milano.
Melandri has had a tough World Superbike season so far, back onboard a Yamaha for the first time since 2011, and currently lies one place above his rookie teammate Sandro Cortese.
Marco Melandri started professional racing in the Italian and European 125cc championship, after being introduced to the sport by former rider Loris Reggiani at the age of six. From there, Melandri hit the world stage, signing with the Benetton Matteoni team in 1998 and finished his debut season third overall, picking up two wins and eight podiums.
Melandri climbed through the ranks, collecting race wins and won the 2002 250cc championship, before making his MotoGP debut in 2003.
Melandri would stay in MotoGP for a further seven seasons, picking up a second-place finish at the end of 2005, finishing second to Valentino Rossi.
He then left the MotoGP paddock to join World Superbikes. This move would see Melandri win a total of twenty-two races with four different manufacturers.
For 2019, Melandri left the Aruba.it Ducati squad to join Sandro Cortese at GRT Yamaha – a move that has triggered the retirement for the Italian after he can “no longer perform how I would like”.
This announcement comes days after a double top ten finish at Donington Park – and days before the season reaches the midway point of the 2019 season at Laguna Seca.
Marco Melandri’s flashy lifestyle and ‘no backing out’ style on track will certainly be missed throughout the coming seasons.