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The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team ready for “home race” at Imola for the fifth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship

With four rounds in the books, the 2017 WorldSBK Championship is heading to Italy at Imola, which is home to the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, given its proximity to the Borgo Panigale headquarters.

The historic Enzo and Dino Ferrari track evokes sweet memories for Ducati, who collected 15 wins at Imola, the last two of which (capped with pole position and new circuit record) were achieved with Chaz Davies last year.

Both Davies and Melandri are keen to bounce back after a difficult weekend at Assen where, despite the speed shown both during practice and races, the team wasn’t able to take full advantage of its potential but scored two third-place finishes. As for the riders’ personal record at Imola, Davies finished within the top three in four occasions overall, while Melandri is eager to break the spell and step for the first time on the podium in the production-based championship in front of his supporters. Both riders await the numerous fans who will populate the Ducati Grandstand.

After four rounds, Davies (111 points) and Melandri (97 points) are respectively third and fourth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action at 09:45 (CET) Friday for the first free-practice session.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7)
“To me, Imola is the best race of the year. It’s got the atmosphere, the history, and when things go well, like it happened last year, it’s the best place to win and celebrate in front of all the ducatisti. I also really enjoy the track, it’s quite technical and I think it suits my style, but it’s also tricky with many elevation changes, so it’s never easy to find the perfect setup for the bike. The area between the Piratella and Acque Minerali corners is really tough, but if you get it right it’s so rewarding. Assen was a mixed bag for us, the results weren’t what we were looking for but we did all we could and we gave our 100 percent on track, so I’m confident we can turn things around with a little better fortune.”

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33)
“Imola is a track that I really like. Aside from the chicanes, it’s really magnificent with its flowing, unique corners and layout. Also, it’s surrounded by nature and, geographically speaking, it’s exactly half-way between my home and Ducati. So, it’s a special place. Unfortunately, for various reasons, I still haven’t been able to score strong results there in Superbike, but we’re heading into this round in good shape. It’s true that we struggled at Assen, but we knew it would have happened sooner or later and it still turned into a good chance to learn and improve. The expectations for our home race are surely high, which only represents another source of motivation. The pressure, if anything, is positive.”

Circuit information

Country: Italy
Name: Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola
Length: 4.936 km
Corners: 22 (13 left, 9 right)
Pole position: left
Race distance: 19 laps/93.784 km

RECORDS
Fastest lap: Davies (Ducati), 1:45.598 (168,276 km/h) – 2016
Circuit record: Davies (Ducati), 1:46.700 (166,538 km/h) – 2016
Superpole: Davies (Ducati), 1:45.598 (168,276 km/h) – 2016

2016 RESULTS
Gara 1: Davies (Ducati), Rea (Kawasaki), Sykes (Kawasaki)
Gara 2: Davies (Ducati), Rea (Kawasaki), Sykes (Kawasaki)

Rider information

Chaz Davies
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 7
Age: 30 (Born 10/02/1987 in Knighton, Wales)
SBK races: 135
SBK wins: 21
SBK podiums: 54

Marco Melandri
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 33
Age: 34 (Born 07/08/1982 in Ravenna, Italy)
SBK races: 110
SBK wins: 19
SBK podiums: 54