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Bittersweet Race 1 at Magny Cours: Melandri 2nd after a strong comeback; electrical problems hinder Davies, 10th

Race 1 of the 11th round of the WorldSBK Championship, held at Magny Cours (France), yielded a bittersweet result for the Racing – Ducati team. On a wet but progressively drying track, Marco Melandri mounted a spectacular comeback to finish second. Chaz Davies, after making a strong start, was hindered by electrical problems and, despite putting up a fight, had to settle for tenth position.

Starting from 12th position on the grid due to a slow-speed crash during Superpole, Melandri paced himself and progressively climbed back as the track was drying up. With two laps to go, the Italian definitevely cut a 10-second gap from Sykes and engaged in a hard though fair duel, outfighting the Brit with just a few corners left.

Davies, seventh on the grid, was instead forced to lose ground after a strong start that saw him take second position within a few corners. The Welshman unluckily suffered an electrical issue that hindered his performance both under braking and acceleration. Despite his valiant efforts, Davies was forced to settle for tenth position.

Due to the reverse grid for Race 2, Melandri and Davies will start from 8th and 11th position on the grid tomorrow. The Racing – Ducati team will resume action at 09:30 (CET) Sunday for warm-up ahead of Race 2 (scheduled to start at 13:00).

Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati #33) – 2nd
“It’s been a fantastic race. At the beginning, the conditions were tricky as the grip was really low. As time went by, I gained confidence and started to push harder and harder. When I saw that Sykes was struggling a little bit, I realized I could push even more because we weren’t struggling with the tires and nobody would have gone back to the pits to change them. We had a fun battle in the last two laps, I gave my all to bridge the gap and honestly we couldn’t have done more today. I hope we have a dry race tomorrow, because here it’s so easy to make mistakes. We haven’t done many laps in the dry so far this weekend, but we would all be in the same boat and we’re ready to have a go at it.”

Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati #7) – 10th
“We had a strong start and the bike felt good at the beginning of the race, but after three laps it had an issue and it became hard to control. It started to lock the rear and spin a lot under acceleration. We’ll look into it, but all we could do was to try and make it to the checkered flag, so I’m a bit disappointed. Yesterday, in the dry, we were making good progress. Our pace wasn’t the best but we were competitive nonetheless. Hopefully it will be dry during WUP as well, as we want to verify one final step with the setup. I’m quite confident about the direction we were going in, so hopefully we can bounce back with a solid result in Race 2.”

Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director
“It’s been a bittersweet race today. Marco made a fantastic comeback on Sykes, taking advantage of a progressively drying track and showing great tactical acumen. We’re sorry for Chaz. An electrical problem in the button panel, which caused the electronics to malfunction, hindered his performance. Tomorrow the weather could change again, with low temperatures but dry conditions. We’ll try to make the most of WUP to improve with both our riders in Race 2.”

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