The Marco Melandri saga is finally at an end. Today, Melandri confirmed that he has signed a contract with Hayate Racing to contest the MotoGP championship for one season, after being forced to tear up his two-year deal with Kawasaki.
The deal is a costly one for Melandri, both financially and in terms of his ability to compete. "I had to make a big financial sacrifice, but the most important thing that I wanted was to find trust," he told MotoGP.com.
He will certainly need some trust. Throughout the last test at Qatar, Melandri complained of issues with rear grip, and he expressed his hope that these problems could be fixed quickly. But as rear grip is a problem that the Kawasaki has had for the past two seasons, that sounds more like the voice of a Candide-like hope, rather than a realistic expectation.
Melandri may feel he has no choice but to live in hope, however. "I have nothing to lose," he told MotoGP.com. "One month ago I had one foot outside the World Championship, and now I have a team that is working solely for me. My motivation is this, and to show Kawasaki that they made a mistake in choosing to pull out their factory support." In another month's time, at the season opener at Qatar, we shall see whether Melandri's hope as justified.