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Melandri and Davies respectively fourth and eighth in Race 1 at Donington

After showing strong competitiveness in both practice and Superpole, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team didn’t achieve the results it hoped for in Race 1 of the WorldSBK Championship at Donington (U.K.). In radically different climatic conditions compared with Friday – the tarmac being more than 10 degrees colder, and with strong winds blowing across the track – Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies closed in fourth and eighth position respectively.

Melandri, fifth in Superpole, faced some difficulties in the early phases of the race, going down to seventh position before being able to find a more consistent pace. The Italian then climbed back to third position, which he lost with only one corner to go due to a wind gust that, together with the front lifting from the ground under acceleration, pushed him temporarily off the track.

Davies, who took first row in Superpole with the third-best time, got off a strong start and took the lead at the first corner to impose and impressive pace in the high 1:27 mark. The Welshman however crashed during lap 7 at turn 12, rejoining the race in fourteenth position before climbing back to eighth.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action tomorrow at 09:50 (CET -1) for WUP. Race 2 is scheduled to start at 15:00. Due to the new grid regulations for Race 2, Davies and Melandri will start in 1st and 5th position respectively.

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 4th
“Today, the wind hindered our performance. During the race, the bike was moving a lot and the front kept lifting from the ground. For this reason, a gust pushed me off the track during the last lap, but I’m more disappointed for the sensations on the bike than the missed podium itself. I lacked confidence on the front and didn’t have much grip on the rear. I couldn’t replicate the times I did during practice yesterday, when we still weren’t at our 100 percent. In these cases, you need to think too much while riding, and it’s hard to push as hard as you want and make passes. We’ll start from pole position tomorrow, but first of all we need to find a better pace. We’re working on it, evaluating several ideas.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 8th
“I’m disappointed for the crash, because we had a really good pace at the start of the race. Yesterday we lacked stability, but the crew worked hard overnight and I was able to push hard at the front and stress our rivals a bit. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the last corner, which is quite bumpy. I let go the front brake a little too quickly and the front unloaded too fast. It’s always a fine line between winning and losing. Looking at the bright side, we got back on the bike and salvaged some valuable points for the championship. Hopefully we can show a strong pace in Race 2 as well and make it to the checkered flag.”

Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director
“It’s been a difficult day, below our expectations. It’s a real pity that Chaz crashed out, because both before and after he showed a strong pace. Looking at the glass half full, we recovered 8 points for the championship. Marco unfortunately has some issues with both the front and rear, but we have room for improvement and we’ll do our best to bounce back in Race 2 with both our riders.”