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Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies in 5th and 8th position respectively Friday in Sepang

Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team_051316

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team took it to the track once again in Sepang (Malaysia) for the sixth round of the WorldSBK championship. The circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur recently underwent extensive renovations and was somewhat difficult to interpret early on as there was virtually no rubber on the new asphalt, which hindered grip and consequently speed. Lap after lap, however, the overall performance progressively improved and both Giugliano and Davies managed to take about 2.5 seconds off between FP1 and FP2, closing in 5th and 8th position respectively, 0.344 and 0.527 behind the provisional best time of 2:03.951.

Both riders focused the work with their crews on the chassis to adapt the Panigale R to the new surface and especially the modified banking in different corners, but also evaluated several compounds brought by Pirelli for the occasion. Giugliano and Davies will be back on track at 10:45 local time (CET +6) tomorrow to make the final adjustments ahead of Superpole 2 (13:55), to which both gained direct access.

Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #34) – 2:04.295 (5th)
“The last time I lapped in Sepang was in 2014, and the track has improved a lot since then in terms of overall smoothness of the surface, but the new asphalt still hasn’t that much rubber on and is difficult to gauge. Some areas also stay wet quite a while after rainfalls, and it’s not easy to see them because the new surface is dark, but we’re all on the same boat. I’m happy because we’ve been quite constant and managed to make steps forward each time we went out, but the tyres face a big drop after about 5 laps and we need to understand how to manage them over race distance. I feel in good shape and I think we got progressively closer to the front, now it will be crucial to fulfill our potential after a few difficult races.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 2:04.478 (8th)
“Today the track conditions were difficult. The new surface represents a challenge for everyone. At first there was hardly any grip and it was not easy to spot the areas that stay wet, but we’re also still just finding our way. We simply need to work on the bike and improve the setting, especially to make it turn better. We have a couple of reasonably good ideas, which have worked in the past, so we’re going to make some changes and see how it plays out tomorrow. We’ve been quite consistent today, but tyre wear remains a crucial variable and we’ll need find the optimal compromise to make sure we are competitive from beginning to end.”