Melandri stays at Honda

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Marco Melandri is staying with Honda for the 2007 MotoGP world championship.

The 24-year-old signed a one-year contract to remain with Fausto Gresini's squad this afternoon in Italy, crushing Ducati's hopes of signing the former world 250 champion to partner Loris Capirossi next season.

Ducati made an official offer to Melandri, who currently lies third in the MotoGP world championship, at last month's Australian GP at Phillip Island.

That move piled the pressure on Gresini, who had a clause written into his current deal with Melandri that gave him until October 5 (Thursday) to match Ducati's offer.

Had he failed then Melandri would have become a free agent and could have jumped ship to replace Sete Gibernau on a new Ducati GP7 800. The prospect of Gresini retaining Melandri seemed bleak at one stage with title sponsor Fortuna quitting at the end of the season.

But Gresini's offer meant Melandri was bound under the terms of his contract to stay put and it is understood that Honda has assured the Italian rider that he will get extra technical support from HRC in 2007.

Melandri's deal will be announced tomorrow in Italy. For full details and reaction see next Wednesday's MCN.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff