Melandri and Forward Racing link up at MV Agusta
Rumours of big changes in the official MV Agusta WorldSBK team abounded at Losail as the story changed day by day. It was everything from a full stop and all the mechanics fired to an expansion in some areas, with the involvement of MotoGP team Forward Racing.
With long time MV Agusta Reparto Corse Technical Director Brian Gillen not in Qatar at all, there were definitely changes in the air even in 2015.
There was one final publicly disclosed press release covering some topics, but before that we spoke to Andrea Quadranti, Team Manager, on raceday, about what was in store for MV’s race plans in 2016.
“MV Agusta will race as an official team, in the World Superbike Championship,” confirmed Quadranti. “There will be some internal changes to the team and we will co-operate with the owner of Forward, Giovanni Cuzari, as he can bring some experience to our team. In Supersport we will be racing still with two bikes. Everything will be like this year. Soon we will let you know which riders will be racing for us.
"But we will have definitely two bikes. Because Lorenzo Zanetti finished third (in the championship) he goes an automatic renewal of his contract. We are having some talks with Jules Cluzel. Leon Camier also has a contract also in Superbike.”
Add one more name to that list of riders, but as a test rider for the development of the WSB machine, none other than Marco Melandri. Melandri had been linked to a few teams for WorldSBK rides in 2016, but have cone to nothing.
The following press release, which appeared on the official worldsbk.com website, stated, “Forward Racing chairman, Giovanni Cuzari, will assume from next season the role of Team Principal of both teams competing respectively in WorldSBK and WSS Championship and will then have the full responsibility of the MV Agusta Racing Department.
“In the coming weeks an exceptional test rider, one of the most beloved Italian racers, will start working on the project: Marco Melandri. The rider from Ravenna, former 250cc world champion, will join the development team of the 2016 F4 RC.
Giovanni Cuzari, Team Owner, is quoted as saying "I'm really pleased to announce that an agreement has been found with MV Agusta: for a long time we have been aiming to cooperate with an important manufacturer and we have finally succeeded. Working with one of the most iconic brand of Italian motorcycling is a great honour and a privilege for me.
"MV Agusta represents the best the Made in Italy can offer and this collaboration will surely be a great growth opportunity for all in order to reach the top of WSBK and to aim for MotoGP. I am also proud of sealing this agreement with Giovanni Castiglioni, long time friend of mine as was his father Claudio.
"Giovanni, who together with his family brought back the name of this historical reality from Varese, has put his trust on me and on the experience of our group and I am convinced we can achieve the goals we set ourselves.”.