Ducati ready to discuss Melandri's future

Ducati boss Livio Suppo says the Italian squad will discuss Marco Melandri's future at the team if he does not manage to raise his game in the next few races

Ducati ready to discuss Melandri's future

Melandri has endured a dismal season so far following his switch from Gresini Honda, and the Italian rider has scored 29 points to teammate Casey Stoner's 117.

Melandri had a nightmare race at Donington last weekend, finishing nearly a lap down on Stoner and even behind Alex de Angelis, who had fallen during the race.

The Italian rider has admitted he is ready to step aside if his performance doesn't improve, and Suppo says they will consider his future in the next races.

Ducati recently tested former GP winner Sete Gibernau, prompting speculation that the Spaniard could be in line for a return to MotoGP to replace Melandri.

"It's early to say that Marco can't go quick, that he can't at least go like he did in China," Suppo was quoted as saying by Motosprint magazine. "But it's clear that, if in the next four or five races Marco doesn't make that leap in performance, then we'll have to reason on it together.

"The test with Gibernau was born out of chance in Barcelona, when he came to us motivated to try again a MotoGP bike, and we gave him the opportunity to test ours. Besides, it's important for us too to understand how our bike really goes, since Melandri, and Elias too, are convinced that only Stoner can ride it.

"Since (test rider) Canepa goes well and considering how Sete went - his laptimes were those of an active rider - I think that Toni and Marco should now have a different approach."

Suppo said, however, that the team had not made any decisions on Gibernau yet.

"It's too early to say. We are trying to organize more tests with him, but that's a long way from saying that he will be a Ducati rider in 2009, even if just for our satellite team.

"Because it's one thing to do a test like that, but it's quite another to be part of the game again and to meet certain expectations. We told each other we'll reason on this calmly, both us and he, and then we'll see."

Melandri himself admitted he is finding it hard to think about his future.

"It's difficult for me to think about the future now. I even find difficult to think about the end of the season... But we clearly have to find a better solution for both. Thankfully there's a fine relationship between us."

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