Marco Melandri has officially confirmed he will be an Aprilia Racing rider in the 2014 World Superbike Championship.
Marco Melandri will partner Sylvain Guintoli next year.
The move had been highly anticipated when Melandri, following weeks of speculation, joined the manufacturer for the traditional post-season WSBK tests at Jerez earlier in the month.
With his existing BMW contract having come to an end on October 31st, Melandri marked the first day of his new deal by simply posting the words 'Aprilia RSV4' on his official Twitter
account before posting an image of his new Aprilia leathers.
He would go on to post a detailed account of his excitement of joining Aprilia in a blog post on his official website, claiming he is 'like a child with a new toy'.
“From now I officially start my new adventure with an old acquaintance - Aprilia! It has not happened to me for a long time to be so excited on the eve of a test. I spent all day in the garage next to the RSV-4 admire and study, asking a thousand questions to try and understand and get to know the bike even before you I tried it.
“I was tense as the first day of school, I was afraid of the bad weather and the [injured] ankle after having battered it in the race on painkillers. In the test instead I had to go with just an anti-inflammatory. After the first dry run happily when he returned to the box I tried not to breathe too much emotion, but I was like a child when he finds his toy!
Melandri is set to be joined in the official team by Sylvain Guintoli, having been earmarked to replace Eugene Laverty. However, the latest rumors from the WSBK paddock suggest Laverty is being enticed into a new deal with Aprilia at the request of new boss Romano Albesiano, though it remains to be seen whether this will result in a three-man line-up at Aprilia Racing or whether he will ride an 'official' bike with a satellite operation like Althea or possibly even Alstare.—Paul Duchene