MotoGP: Melandri and Aprilia part ways

Marco Melandri and Aprilia mutually agree to end MotoGP contract early after poor results; options unknown for Melandri

motogp marco melandri aprilia part ways
Marco Melandri and Aprilia have agreed to end their contract for 2015 early due to Melandri's poor results that saw him at or near the rear of the field in nearly every race. Melandri reluctantly agreed to race in MotoGP this year, but it's clear his heart was not in the effort.

Marco Melandri and Aprilia have finally announced that they are prematurely ending their MotoGP contract for the 2015 season early, with the former 250cc Grand Prix world champion posting poor results in every race this year. The Italian never really came to grips with the prototype Aprilia RSV MotoGP machine or the Bridgestone tires, and was overshadowed by his teammate Alvaro Bautista who was clearly putting in much more effort into his rides. While Melandri has scored no championship points this year, Bautista has scored 11 points so far, with his best finish a 10th place at Catalunya.

To be fair, Melandri reportedly never really wanted to go back to MotoGP, but was inadvertently forced to when Aprilia originally announced last year that it was disbanding its factory World Superbike team and was only going to provide customer team support in 2015. The Noale factory abruptly changed its mind at the last minute and decided to field a factory WSBK team for this year, but it was well after Melandri had already committed to riding the prototype Aprilia GP machine. The Aprilia factory MotoGP machine is a work in progress, and is nowhere near a competitive state at the moment, usually relegating Bautista and Melandri to the nether regions of the grid and finishing positions at every race, something that has surely ground on Melandri after giving up a competitive WSBK ride to get there.

Melandri's options are limited, as at this point in the season there aren't any seats open. He'll likely be in the bidding for a seat for 2016, but that is no guarantee he'll get one with so many younger, hungrier riders coming up through the ranks. Current Aprilia test rider and British Superbike Championship rider Michael Laverty is slated to take Melandri's place on the bike in the remaining races, although it's not known how it may affect any scheduling conflicts with the BSB series.