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Memorable Race 1 at Imola for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team: Davies is 1st, Melandri 3rd

After showing its competitiveness during Friday’s free-practice sessions, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team enjoyed a day to remember in front of its fans at Imola, home of the fifth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. In Race 1, Chaz Davies once again proved to be the man to beat on the Italian track, winning (with a new circuit record) the third consecutive race at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit after scoring a double in 2016.

The Welshman, who secured pole position in the morning while showing an unmatched pace, never looked back after the start and finished with a seven-second advantage over his rivals when, with six laps to go, the race was red-flagged and eventually declared to be over with the results based on the positions from the previous lap.

Melandri, fifth on the grid, got off a blistering start to position himself right behind his teammate. The Italian eventually joined a battle against Rea and Sykes, closing in third position and thus seizing his first WorldSBK podium at Imola .

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, Davies and Melandri will start in 9th and 7th position respectively.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 1st
“It’s been a perfect weekend so far. I think this track really suits me and the Panigale R. We’ve made good steps forward under acceleration this year, and it was a big help here with the tight chicanes. Also, this layout helps me to take advantage of the strong points of my riding style. I kept controlling the gap from Rea, looking after the tyres, and the bike felt really consistent. It was a lonely race, but not an easy one. Tomorrow’s going to be different, starting from the back. We need to keep it clean and be patient. We can still improve something on the electronics side, but clearly we won’t make any big changes. Thanks to all the ducatisti for their amazing support today!”

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 3rd
“To step on the podium in front of the home crowd is amazing, but it wasn’t easy out there today. From this morning, we had some issues. I still didn’t feel at 100 percent under braking, and under acceleration I had to shut the throttle often while upshifting, without being able to fully take advantage of our power. Nonetheless, Chaz was really fast, especially in the third sector, and while trying not to lose contact with him I made some mistakes. After a few laps, with less fuel in the tank and a lighter bike, we improved. I was ready to fight against Sykes and in general I expected to battle against the two Kawasakis, but we didn’t take advantage of our full potential and I want to do better tomorrow.”

Stefano Cecconi, Aruba S.p.A CEO and Team Principal:
“The home race always represents a further incentive to do well, and it was important for us to put on a show in front of our fans. I think we couldn’t have asked for more. Chaz showed once again his strength at Imola, taking pole position, circuit record and a dominant win. Marco showed his grit, making constant steps forward and securing his first WorldSBK podium on this track. We’re confident they can aim high tomorrow as well.”