Melandri leaves Aprilia MotoGP team

Melandri leaves Aprilia MotoGP team

MotoGP race winner Marco Melandri has parted company with Aprilia with immediate effect after a poor start to his comeback season.

Thursday, July 09, 2015 (5:45 am)
The 2005 MotoGP runner-up, who won five grands prix in his early career at the top level, has been mired at the back of the grid since returning to the field with Gresini’s works Aprilia project this season following four years in World Superbikes.

Soon after his deal was announced last year, Melandri admitted he had misgivings over being steered back to MotoGP by Aprilia.

He then struggled to find a comfortable set-up on the team’s 2015 bike, which is an interim machine with roots in the ART CRT design ahead of the launch of an all-new factory machine next year.

Melandri has qualified last or next-to-last for every MotoGP race so far this season and has not finished above 18th place.

A statement from Aprilia said the two parties had “reached an agreement by mutual consent to terminate the contractual obligations”.

Michael Laverty, who tested the Aprilia last year, has been linked to a MotoGP return to replace Melandri alongside Alvaro Bautista.

Laverty spent two seasons in MotoGP with the small Paul Bird Motorsport team in 2013-14 before returning to British Superbikes this year.

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