There was much consternation among Marco Melandri's many fans when the FIM issued the provisional entry lists for MotoGP earlier today. For besides Melandri's name was not the #33 which the Italian has used since he moved up to the MotoGP class in 2003, but instead #24. Had Marco Melandri wanted to put his past behind him and start with a new number? Was he tired of #33 and wanted a change? To the vast majority of Melandri's fans, the idea was akin to blasphemy.
Melandri's fans can all breathe a sigh of relief. A spokesperson for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team told MotoMatters.com that it was all just a mistake by the FIM, Melandri's name filled in the space vacated by that of Toni Elias, while forgetting to remove Elias' number. Melandri will be using #33 after all.
It will not just be the fans who will be relieved. For the many journalists and commentators who follow MotoGP around the globe, the San Carlo Gresini team is going to be confusing enough, with the Two Marcos (Melandri and Simoncelli). For Melandri to have taken a new number would have made the situation infinitely worse.