Melandri took over the Championship Series points lead at the Russian round in August, but since then has had all kinds of problems, both at the Nurburgring in Germany and Portimao n Portugal. He fell twice from front running positions in Germany, and then only complete a lap in race one in Portugal before crashing and injuring his ribs and back.
Even with these issues, Melandri showed up to race in France, looking to capitalize on his outside shot at the title. Third in the point standings, Melandri was a fighting second in the wet French opener, and was looking to earn an upset success with a strong performance in race two.
Unfortunately, Melandri came to grief on lap five, tumbling out of sixth place, and almost taking Davide Guigliano’s Ducati out too. Then Loris Baz crashed seconds later with one of the factory Kawasaki entries, and Melandri was lucky not to get clobbered by the flying Ninja just as he scrambled to his feet.
Melandri suffered a strained hip in the fall, but did not aggravate the back injures he is nursing from the Portimao first turn traffic tumble. He will return to action when testing starts in just over a month for the 2013 Superbike World tour.