WSB: Melandri encourages riders to speak out
Marco Melandri believes fellow riders simply 'don't care' when it comes to suggesting positive changes for the World Superbike championship.
For the first time, 2019 will feature three races per weekend as the now usual Saturday and Sunday full-length events are to be accompanied by a ten-lap sprint – officially dubbed the Tissot Superpole Race – on Saturday mornings.
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The top nine finishers of the new Sprint Race will start Race 3 in that same order, while tenth position downwards will be determined by Saturday’s qualifying times.
The grid positions for Saturday’s first race and the sprint race itself will see the riders line up as they qualify in Tissot Superpole, which is no longer made up of two sessions but one single session for all riders.
While Melandri backs the Sprint Race, the GRT Yamaha man feels riders' opinions will only ever be taken seriously when they club together with a collective opinion.
"I like to race, so a third race is okay," Melandri told MCN at the Jerez test on Wednesday evening. "If the sprint race can increase the spectacle, I welcome it.
"What I don’t like is that we score points in what is a qualifying race; for me that’s not correct. We will be taking maybe even more risks than in a normal race because it is shorter, so you have to start faster.
"You get points, so it is very important for the championship, but there is no bonus of points. This is not correct in my opinion. If you want to give points, give a bonus. Otherwise…no bonus, no points."
The sprint will award points to the top nine as follows: 12-9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. Asked whether the riders' sentiments are taken seriously, Melandri feels they are not. He believes championship organisers Dorna can only fully consider suggestions once riders get together and come up with a solid and shared idea.
"The riders don’t care," says the 36-year-old, the oldest rider in the field. "Twice I have tried to talk to all of them about such ideas. Only Johnny (Rea) wanted to get involved.
"Other riders don’t care, so we can’t all approach Dorna with ideas if the riders don’t get together. Some riders seem interested when I explain ideas, but when you actually put something together nobody answers to provide any input."
Melandri has started 151 World Superbike races and has 22 race victories and 72 podium finishes to his credit. He was also 250cc Grand Prix World Champion in 2002.