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The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team headed to California: next stop Laguna Seca for Davies and Melandri

After a two-week break, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team is ready to resume action at Laguna Seca (U.S.), home of the eighth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. On the iconic California track, located just a few miles from the scenic town of Monterey, both Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri collected prestigious results in the past, and the team is eager to keep up the momentum after taking Race 2 at Misano to bring the season’s tally up to four wins (three of which on Italian soil).

Sidelined during the last race due to the fracture of the transverse process of L3 (3rd lumbar vertebra) and a contusion of the left thumb caused after a collision with a blameless Rea in Race 1, Davies underwent an intense physiotherapy program to recover from injuries with positive results, and already flew to California. As is procedure, the rider will be examined by the Championship’s Medical Director and circuit staff on Thursday to receive formal clearance to race on a track where he already scored two wins and two further podiums in his career.

Melandri also stepped on the top of the podium at Laguna Seca, barely missing a double in 2014, and took third place one year before. Thanks to the setup improvements made in the last round, which culminated in his maiden win on the Panigale R, the Italian is keen to be a steady protagonist from now on.

After seven rounds, Davies and Melandri are respectively third (185 points) and fourth (163 points) in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action on Friday at 09:45 (CET -9) for the first free-practice session.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7)
“I’ve been doing physiotherapy everyday for the past two weeks, and my conditions have constantly improved. I feel generally pretty good, and the back is not bothering me particularly. We just need to wait for the official ‘thumbs up’ from the medical staff. Honestly, I can’t wait to ride again. It’s been a bit frustrating not to be able to train since Misano, but I didn’t want to make anything worse. I want to take advantage of the next few days to wake my body up again. Laguna Seca is a great track, it triggers many a great memories, and its atmosphere is fantastic. Maybe I’ll be a bit limited physically, but if we manage to find a comfortable setup that allows the bike to hit the marks without forcing too much we can aim high, so I’m confident.”

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33)
“Laguna Seca is one of my favorite races. I enjoy the track, and most of all the whole California vibe: the climate, the landscapes, and the fans’ attitude. The track itself is small but fast, with many direction and elevation changes. It’s complete and challenging. Also, the races there often get red-flagged. We’ll have to take this into account as well, from a tactical point of view. In the past two weeks I trained and recharged. I feel great and this is the right moment to resume action. I believe we stepped it up a notch at Misano, and we can be competitive on each track from now on. Now I ride a bike that is more suitable for my style.”

Circuit information

Country: U.S.A.
Name: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Length: 3.610 km
Corners: 11 (7 left, 4 right)
Pole position: right
Race distance: 25 laps/90.250 km

RECORDS
Fastest lap: Sykes (Kawasaki), 1:21.811 (158,850 km/h) – 2014
Circuit record: Giugliano (Aprilia), 1:23.403 (155,820 km/h) – 2014
Superpole: Sykes (Kawasaki), 1:21.811 (158,850 km/h) – 2014

2016 RESULTS
Race 1: Rea (Kawasaki), Sykes (Kawasaki), Hayden (Honda)
Race 2: Sykes (Kawasaki), Giugliano (Ducati), Davies (Ducati)

Rider information

Chaz Davies
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 7
Age: 30 (Born 10/02/1987 in Knighton, Wales)
SBK races: 138
SBK wins: 23
SBK podiums: 57

Marco Melandri
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 33
Age: 34 (Born 07/08/1982 in Ravenna, Italy)
SBK races: 116
SBK wins: 20
SBK podiums: 56