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Davies and the Ducati Superbike Team back on the podium in SBK race 1 at Jerez!

Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), Sunday 7 September 2014 – Today’s first SBK race at Jerez saw the Ducati Superbike Team celebrate a return to the podium with Chaz Davies. The British rider crossed the line in third place in race one, fourth in race two.

Race 1 – from second and seventh respectively on the grid, both Giugliano and Davies got away well, finding themselves together, in fourth and fifth place, through the opening laps. With a particularly fast pace in the initial stages, the Italian recorded the fastest lap of the race on lap two (1’41.939). On the very next lap, both Ducati factory riders were able to find a way past Lowes to move up into third (Davide) and fourth (Chaz) position. While Davies battled with Melandri, Giugliano gave chase to the two leaders, Guintoli and Baz. Although there were some traction issues for Davies in the second half of the race, he was able to manage the situation and cross the line in final third position, to score his fourth podium of the 2014 season. Unfortunately, on lap twelve, while pushing hard to reach those ahead of him, Giugliano lost the front of his 1199 Panigale and fell. Unable to rejoin the race, he was forced to retire.

Race 2 – Davies, having started well, was able to move up from eighth to fourth place over the course of only four laps. Positioned behind the two Aprilias and Sykes’ Kawasaki, Chaz maintained a strong pace for the entire duration of the race, despite being unable to close the gap between himself and the race leaders, concluding the race in final fourth position. Getting away fast once again, Giugliano was lying in second position after the opening lap, fighting with the two Kawasakis and the two Aprilias. Unfortunately, on lap four, a technical problem caused the rear of the bike to suddenly move, forcing the Italian rider to go off track and into the gravel, from where he was unable to rejoin the race.

After ten of twelve rounds, Davies lies sixth in the championship standings, with 188 points, while Giugliano is eighth with 153 points. Ducati holds fourth position in the manufacturers’ standings, with 249 points.

Carlos Checa, 2011 world champion and Ducati “ambassador” was also on track at Jerez today. Just before the start of race 2, the Spanish rider completed a lap of honour in front of the Superbike crowd on board a 1199 Panigale with a special livery dedicated to him.

Quotes after the races:

Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 3rd, 4th
“I’ve been coming here to Jerez for about fifteen years and have never reached the podium; it’s always been a tough track for me and so of course I’m very pleased with today’s result. In race one, the bike was really behaving well in the opening stages and I was able to make some fast laps but then, from about lap eight onwards, it became increasingly difficult to manage the drop in grip. We made a few changes to the rear to try to improve the ‘skatey’ feeling that we had in race 1 but, to be honest, it wasn’t a lot better in race 2. Our pace wasn’t bad but we didn’t have enough in the second half of the race with which to make consistently fast lap times. But, all in all, a third and a fourth, at what I consider to be one of my weakest tracks, is a good result and I’m really happy. I think these results will give us confidence for the final races of the season.”

Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – DNF, DNF
“Today was a really difficult day. In race one we made a good start and I thought I would be able to score a good result. The conditions this weekend have been particularly tough and it hasn’t been easy to understand the limit. We want to win and feel we are getting closer to this result each weekend, I’m giving it 150% and so there is always a risk. I’m obviously disappointed but looking at the positives, we have been consistently there with the fastest guys this weekend and this is fundamental – it can only give us confidence and spur us on to continue to fight. I want to be finishing the races in a strong position and not on the ground obviously. We made a few small changes for race 2 and my feeling improved but unfortunately when I tried to push, to reach those up front, a technical problem caused the rear of the bike to shift unexpectedly and I was forced off track into the gravel. We’re looking at the data to understand exactly what happened…”

Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director
“Today’s races were 50% positive with, on the one hand, Chaz’s podium in race 1 and fourth place in race 2, results that confirm our competitiveness. The heat has been a big problem for us but the developments made in recent months have meant that we now suffer less than at the start of the season. On the other hand, two DNFs for Davide, after great results during practice, are not a positive of course. In both races his pace matched those of the leaders and his desire to win is undeniable, as is his talent. But to be up front, he still needs to ride too close to the limit and in these conditions the risk of crashing is always just around the corner. We need to continue to work to give him the margin that he needs in order to be able to ride more calmly. In race 2 a technical problem caused the rear of his bike to move dramatically, meaning that he ended up in the gravel. Once home, we will analyse the situation carefully to understand the cause of this.”