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The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team on the attack in Friday’s free-practice sessions at Laguna Seca with Chaz Davies 1st and Marco Melandri 3rd

After a two-week break, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team resumed action at Laguna Seca (U.S.A), home of the eighth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. On the iconic track where Ducati holds the record as the most successful manufacturer with 12 wins, the Italian squad played a protagonist role with both its riders in Friday’s free-practice sessions.

Davies, coming back from an injury that forced him to skip Race 2 at Misano (Italy), took many people by surprise to post the best provisional time with a 1:23.425 despite not having been able to train in the past couple of weeks. The Welshman set his best time in FP1 then focused on race pace during FP2 in weather conditions that should mirror those of the races (with track temperatures of approximately 50 degrees).

Melandri, third in the morning, took about four tenths of a second off his best time in FP2 to finish with a 1:23.778, only 0.353 seconds behind his teammate. The Italian also focused his work on overall pace, riding on used tyres at length before performing the usual “time attack” with positive results.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action on Saturday at 09:15 (CET -9) for the third and last free-practice session ahead of Superpole and Race 1 (scheduled to start at 14:00).

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 1:23.425 (1st)
“My ambition was to just build into the weekend, but things felt quite good right away this morning and we got off a good start. In higher temperatures, like in the afternoon, I think we still have a little bit more work to do, but overall it’s been a good day. It’s so much fun to ride here at Laguna. We need more grip from the rear, both entering and exiting corners. It’s the first test I’ve given my body since Misano, and things felt quite normal aside from getting a little bit of back ache as the day went on. Hopefully a good night’s sleep will make me feel refreshed for tomorrow. We’ll take it lap by lap and see how it goes.”

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 1:23.778 (3rd)
“It’s always nice to be here, it’s amazing to ride on this track. This morning, I was struggling a little bit because the surface is quite bumpy and also it was my first time with Ducati here so I had to adjust to different gears compared with what I was used to in the past. The team once again did a great job and gave me a bike that allowed me to ride with more confidence on the front in FP2, so we improved our lap times. We just need to make another step forward for Superpole, which is very important since it’s difficult to pass here, and improve tyre wear for the very last laps of the race, but we’re close and I’m confident. If we can ride consistently, I believe great results are within our reach.”