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Ups and downs for the Racing – Ducati in Race 1 at Aragon: Melandri is 2nd, determined Davies crashes out while leading

The Racing – Ducati team took its sixth podium of the year in Race 1 of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship at Aragon (Spain) thanks to Marco Melandri’s second-place finish. The Italian, twice third in the first two rounds, thus sealed his best result of the season so far. Chaz Davies, on the other hand, crashed out in turn 16 while he was leading the race, in the final stages of a spectacular fight with Rea.

Starting from fourth position, Melandri suffered some difficulties early on with fresh tyres but eventually found his rhythm, posting similar lap times to those of the leading duo and maintaining third position quite effortlessly. Davies, who secured pole position with the new track record in 1:49.319, took the lead at the start and quickly pulled away with Rea. The Welshman showed his determination once again, fiercely responding to his fellow countryman’s attacks, but eventually crashed out at the end of lap 16 without sustaining injuries.

The 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 ( Racing – Ducati #33) – 2nd
“It was a tough race, for sure. We expected warmer temperatures, which would have allowed us to use the softer rear tyre, but the grip level was much lower today and we all had to adapt, both with the electronics and riding style. Personally, I struggled with the front. I opted for the new development SC1 solution because I really liked it during practice, but I expected it to drop in a different way. I lacked grip at maximum lean angle, and early on it was really difficult for me to close the line in the fast corners. Still, a second place is a good result for us today. Of course, we’ll try to improve tomorrow as each race is a different story.”

Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati #7) – DNF
“After having missed FP1, we knew we were a bit behind in figuring things out so today I just wanted to do my race. I was trying to keep Rea at bay, passing him each time I had the opportunity to do so, but with five laps to go I started to feel that the bike was a bit more nervous and harder to manage in corner entry, and the weight was coming on and off the front. That’s what happened in the last corner, it locked without much warning and I lost the front. I was lucky to escape without injuries. Tomorrow we’ll try to get a good start and see if we can make our way to the front again. We want to win races”.

Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director
“After such a close, thrilling race, certainly we didn’t get the result we were hoping for. It’s a pity that Chaz crashed, it leaves a bitter taste in our mouths after such a generous performance on his behalf. On the other hand, we’re happy with Marco’s race, which confirms the positive trend. If it weren’t from some small front-end issues, we’re sure he could have fought for the win as well. We’re not giving up for sure, and we’ll work hard to score the best possible results with both our riders in Race 2.”