Speaking at the launch of Ducati's 2008 bike at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy, the 25-year-old Italian said that he is prepared to start the season in the Australian's shadow.
"Casey Stoner has won the world title on this bike and therefore I expect to be number two," said Melandri. "
"I am new and it would be stupid to think of coming to the team of the world champion and being number one."
Season 2008
Fogarty: Toseland can win on debut
03/01/2008 AT 10:34
Melandri has five Moto GP wins to his name, but endured a winless 2007 with the Gresini Honda team, which was made worse when he sustained a broken ankle in a qualifying crash at the United States Grand Prix.
He then suffered a herniated disc in his back, caused by a trapped nerve, which caused him to miss the Czech Grand Prix and contributed to his inability to finish higher than fifth in the championship.
Season 2008
Hayden demands Honda improvements
01/03/2008 AT 20:11
Season 2008
Stoner slams Losail gravel traps
01/03/2008 AT 14:36