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Difficult race for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team at Portimão: 3rd place for Melandri, Davies crashes out while 2nd

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team once again stepped on the podium in Race 2 of the WorldSBK Championship at Portimão (Portugal) thanks to Marco Melandri’s third-place finish. At the end of a hard-fought race, the Italian managed to replicate his Race 1 result coming back from ninth position, with clear improvements in terms of race pace despite experiencing some issues under braking.

Chaz Davies’ quest, on the other hand, came to a premature end. With a strong start from third row, the Welshman made some spectacular passes to climb back to second position and build a comfortable gap, but he was forced to retire after crashing out at turn 2 with three laps to go.

After ten rounds, Davies (296 points) and Melandri (250 points) are respectively third and fourth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action tomorrow for one-day official test ahead of the eleventh round of the season, scheduled for September 29th – October 1st at Magny Cours (France).

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 3rd
“I’m happy because the team did a great job and today my Panigale R was more competitive, especially in terms of grip, but unfortunately we still couldn’t take full advantage of our potential and we struggled during the race. I started off well but soon had an issue with the thumb-activated rear brake and went wide at turn 10. Also, the bike was wobbling a lot on the straight. As I was trying to recover positions, I lost time fighting with some riders who didn’t have our pace and hindered us a bit so, when I managed to get behind VD Mark, he was too far by then. In tomorrow’s test we’ll focus on improving stability, and in the next races I want to step on top of the podium again.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – DNF
“It’s disappointing to finish the race like that because we’ve missed an easy podium. Our pace was OK, we were holding station with Rea without pushing over the top, but towards the end I relaxed a little and closed the the throttle a bit earlier than usual going into turn 2, which ended up loading the front too much, and I went down. I was surprised because it’s a strange place to crash, especially when you feel like you’re cruising. That said, we’ve definitely made improvements today, but we still want to make another step forward in terms of stability at the end of the race, something on which we’ll work on tomorrow. Looking at the positive, we’ve closed in to second position in the championship, due to Tom’s misfortune, and with him back we should have an interesting end to the season, so I’m looking forward to the next round.”

Stefano Cecconi, Aruba CEO and Team Principal
“Despite the three podiums, we can’t be happy because we would have liked to have done more in this round. The whole team worked with great efforts but, perhaps due to the peculiar nature of this track, we were forced to play defense. Now we need to look ahead, at Magny Cours, where we want to race at the front with both our riders again.”