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Second-best time for Chaz Davies in the opening day at Assen, Marco Melandri is 10th

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team resumed action at Assen for the fourth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. In typical, cold weather conditions (about 10 degrees in the air and 15 on the tarmac), Chaz Davies posted the second-best time of the day while Marco Melandri closed in tenth place in the combined rankings.

Both riders took advantage of the two free-practice sessions to work on the setup of the Panigale R and evaluate the several tyre compounds, front and rear, brought for the occasion. The Welshman, third in the morning, took about half a second off in between sessions to finish with a personal best of 1:35.495, only 0.112 seconds behind provisional leader Rea.

Melandri, tenth in the morning, significantly reduced the gap from the top in FP2, temporarily climbing back to the margins of the top five, but closed in tenth position (+0.887) without mounting, unlike most of his rivals, a fresh rear tyre towards the end. Both riders thus gained direct access to Superpole 2.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action tomorrow at 08:45 (CET) for the third and final free-practice session ahead of Superpole and Race 1 (scheduled for 13:00).

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 1:35.495 (2nd)
“I’m quite happy with our performance for today. I feel like we’re still off the mark in some areas, but not far, especially when it comes to lap times. We did a medium-size run, the lap times came more easily towards the end and the tyres looked quite good, so that’s positive. We just need to tidy up a few things, in particular we need to get more stability as the bike behaves a bit wildly here and there, especially in the faster parts of the track, in order to get it to turn better from straight braking until the apex. The forecast says it should be dry for the rest of the weekend, so… fingers crossed.”

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 1:36.720 (10th)
“We struggled a bit in FP1, while in FP2 things went better but we still risked to be pushed out of the top ten without using a new tyre in the final minutes. Anyway, we got progressively closer to the top, and our pace is decisively better than this morning, so I’m quite confident about our potential. We know where we need to improve, especially in the first sector, but we still need to fill some gaps. In particular, we need to focus on grip because, despite having improved the feeling on the front, we need to improve consistency with the rear.”