That Marco Melandri is unlikely to sit out the 2nd year of his contract with Ducati in 2009 was an open secret. But now, that open secret has become something akin to a public announcement. Alberto Vergani, Melandri's manager, told GPOne.com's Alberto Cani that Melandri will not be with Ducati for 2009. The Italian's contract with Ducati allows the contract to be dissolved by mutual consent with no financial penalty, despite rumors to the contrary. And with Melandri in his current form, there can be no doubt that the consent will be very much mutual.
Vergani had other interesting things to say to Cani. When asked about Melandri's future, Vergani stated that the most likely option for the Italian is a return to Fausto Gresini's satellite Honda squad, where Gresini continues to be a great admirer of Melandri. He confirmed that Kawasaki has also expressed an interest in Melandri, but denied that Melandri could end up on a Kawasaki before the 2008 season is over.
On the question of whether Melandri could quit Ducati before the season is out, Vergani was clear: "Our intention remains to finish the season with Ducati. Marco wants to tackle the problems he's been having, it's a question of saving his honor," Melandri's manager said. This does not mean that Melandri will not leave before the season is out: "That is, if Ducati doesn't have other ideas."