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Third place for Melandri in Race 1 at Assen, Davies forced to retire while he was fighting for the win

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team stepped once again on the podium in Race 1 of the WorldSBK Championship at Assen thanks to Marco Melandri’s third-place finish. Chaz Davies, on the other hand, suffered a bitter ending to his quest as he was forced to retire during the second-to-last lap when he was in second position, and well within reach of another win, due to a technical problem.

Starting respectively in second and fifth position, both Davies and Melandri had a strong start off the blocks, settling in first and fourth place. Davies then dictated the pace at the top, followed by Rea and Sykes, while Melandri struggled a bit more and progressively lost contact with the leading group.

With three laps to go, Davies and Rea started yet another thrilling battle, with several lead changes, but the Welshman was eventually forced to retire during lap 20 due to an electrical problem. Melandri instead crossed the finish line in third position.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action tomorrow at 09:30 (CET) for WUP. Race 2 is scheduled to start at 13:00. Due to the new grid regulations for Race 2, Melandri and Davies will start in 8th and 10th position respectively.

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 3rd
“Until this morning, I wouldn’t have expected to finish on the podium. We struggled also in FP3, and even a top-five finish wouldn’t have been easy at that point, but the team did a great job and turned things around before Superpole, allowing me to regain the feeling with the bike. At the start of the race we were quite fast, but then our pace wasn’t strong enough to stay with the top three, so I opted not to take too many risks. I’m sorry for Chaz, he was really unlucky, but I’m also happy for our result. We’ll try to improve tomorrow. The conditions here were really different compared with the races held so far, the bike was moving a lot and we couldn’t find the necessary consistency with the front over the race distance, but we’ll analyze the data to make another step forward for Race 2.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – DNF
“It was a good race. I got into my rhythm at the front and the pace was strong, especially in the early laps. Still, we struggled a bit in a couple of areas and I didn’t want to make a mistake, so I tried to boil it down to a last-lap fight but unfortunately we were cut one lap short. It’s pretty disappointing because, even without knowing how it would have turned out, I think it would have been a spicy last lap to watch. That said, it was a good race until then. We need to make some small but important changes overnight and hopefully we’ll be able to battle for the win again tomorrow in Race 2 and make it one lap further.”

Ernesto Marinelli, WorldSBK Project Director
“We’re deeply sorry for what happened to Chaz while he was fighting for the win. He rode a great race, and we couldn’t have asked for more. It was a huge blow for all of us, but we want to react promptly in order to bounce back tomorrow in Race 2. On the other hand, we’re happy for Marco, who solved most of the issues he encountered during practice and stepped on the podium once again. We still have some details to iron out and, to this end, we’ll try to make the most of tomorrow’s warm-up session.”