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Melandri and Davies respectively in fourth and fifth position in the opening day at Donington

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team took it back to the track at Donington (U.K.), home of the sixth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. In particularly warm weather conditions compared to the usual British weather – with air temperatures around 25 degrees and tarmac temperatures over 40 degrees – Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies fought constantly within the top five during the first two free-practice sessions, both qualifying directly into Superpole 2.

Third in FP1 on a track where he has won twice in WorldSBK, Melandri closed the opening day in fourth position in the combined rankings, 0.413 seconds behind the provisional best time of 1:27.740. Davies, fourth in the morning, took two tenths of a second off in FP2 to post the fifth time overall, only 0.013 seconds behind his teammate.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action Saturday at 09:05 (CET -1) for the third and last free-practice session ahead of Superpole and Race 1, which is scheduled to start at 15:00 (local time).

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 1:28.153 (4th)
“It’s been a positive day for us. We started off on the right foot, and the Panigale R worked well right away this morning. In the afternoon, we tried some changes to our setup, some of which worked while others didn’t. We need to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, because it’s hard to be at 100 percent both in the fast and slow sectors of the track. Also, the track is quite bumpy despite the resurfacing. It’ll be a tough race, with many fast riders and possibly erratic weather. We have to be ready.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 1:28.166 (5th)
“It wasn’t a bad day, we’re not too far away and we just need to work on stability to improve my feeling with the package and be able to choose slightly different lines. The resurfaced areas are better, but the problem is that there are quite big bumps where the joins are. We need to tidy up a bit here and there to be more consistent. We’re working to improve the overall chassis balance and some electronics stuff as well. Also, we’ll use a much fresher engine tomorrow so that should give us a couple of tenths too.”