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The Racing – Ducati team ready to fight: Melandri 2nd and Davies 8th in Friday’s free-practice sessions at Assen

The Racing – Ducati team resumed action today at Assen (Netherlands) for the fourth round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship. In Friday’s free-practice sessions, Marco Melandri made a solid start posting the second-best time with a 1:35.399, only 0.243 behind the provisional leader, thereby laying a solid base for Superpole and Race 1.

Chaz Davies was not far behind his teammate within particularly narrow rankings – with only a second separating the first 12 riders – taking about 8 tenths of a second off his personal best and closing the opening day in 8th position (+0.626) despite some grip issues.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi was once again the fastest “independent” rider on track with the Racing – Junior Team, impressively setting the third-best time, only 0.119 behind Melandri. All three riders gained direct access to Superpole 2.

The Racing – Ducati team and the Racing – Junior Team will resume action tomorrow at 08:45 local time (CET) for the fourth and last free-practice session ahead of Superpole and Race 1, which is scheduled to start at 13:00.

Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati #33) – (1:35.399) 2nd
“Today we got off to a solid start, both myself and the crew. We focused our work to improve stability on the straight. On Friday, this is often not a problem but, if I do a longer run – like in FP3, when we did 10 consecutive laps – the wobbling becomes a bit more apparent. We sure hope this is not the case tomorrow. If anything, with these warmer temperatures, it will be easier to manage the tires over race distance.”

Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati #7) – (1:35.782) 8th
“We worked methodically to improve the setup but we’re still looking for the next step forward as we still need a few tenths. In particular, we are trying to improve turning and edge grip, which also affects acceleration in some parts of the track. We made a big change between FP2 and FP3, which worked under some aspects, so we just need to put all the pieces of the puzzle together ahead of FP4 tomorrow.”

Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Junior Team #21) – (1:35.518) 3rd
“I’m quite happy with today’s results. We learned a lot from Aragon, and we planned our work more efficiently. We’re trying not to waste any energy, making the most of every single lap. Today we progressively found a good setup and then I pushed hard in FP3 to finish third. We want to move forward on this path.”

Weekend schedule (CET):

Saturday (April 21st)
08:45 – 09:05 SBK FP4
10:30 – 10:45 SBK Superpole 1
10:55 – 11:10 SBK Superpole 2
13:00 SBK Race 1

Sunday (April 22nd)
09:35 – 09:50 SBK Warm-up
13:00 SBK Race 2

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