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The wait is over: the Racing – Ducati team back in action at Portimão

Almost two months after its last race, held in front of the home crowd at Misano, the Racing – Ducati team is ready to resume action at Portimão (Portugal), home of the tenth round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship. The Portuguese track, characterized by a technical and physically challenging layout, hosted a two-day collective test at the end of August that helped the team lay down the foundations for the race weekend. Both Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri stepped on the podium on several occasions at Portimão, three and four times respectively, and will try to boost their statistics to take home as many points as possible in the championship, where they sit in second and fifth position.

Davies, who is undergoing rehabilitation after injuring his right collarbone last week while training with supermotard, will verify his physical condition on Friday before defining a strategy, while Melandri is ready to attack to climb back in the rankings on a track where he has won twice.

The Racing – Junior Team will also take it back to the track with Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who is keen make the most of the remaining races to continue his growth in his debut year in the top class. After nine rounds, Davies (278 points) and Melandri (193 points) are respectively second and fifth in the championship, while Rinaldi (59 points) is fourteenth. The Racing – Ducati team and the Racing – Junior Team will resume action on Friday, September 14th, at 09:45 local time (CET -1) for the first free-practice session.

Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati #7) 
“The collarbone injury was just not ideal, but I felt progress during these days, which is the most important thing. We’re going to see how Friday goes and then take it step by step, without rushing things too much early on. I’m pretty sure I’ll be OK once I step on the Panigale R, but we need to make sure we build our way into the round and avoid potential bumps on the road before the actual races. The test was OK, but track conditions should be cooler this weekend so things can change quite a bit in terms of setup and feeling. We left the test with a good direction so we just need to step back on the bike and keep working.”

Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati #33) 
“We head to Portimão with optimism, the tests there were positive and we were all fairly close in terms of pace. The track itself is unique, the elevation changes there are even bigger than at Laguna Seca, and it’s really fun to ride. Also, compared with 2017, the tarmac has been resurfaced and it’s in much better conditions. This helps my riding style, because usually I struggle more with bumps. I already won twice at Portimão and I just want to take as many points as possible. Finally we head back to the track, I can’t wait to ride again.”

Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Junior Team #21) 
“Luckily we were able to test at Portimão recently. After a long break, these tests were crucial to get back in the rhythm and lay down the base setup. For sure the conditions will be different this time and we’ll have to work hard to improve the final details. Physically I feel ready, I always rode bikes during the summer to stay sharp. We have two races left and I want to make the most of them. We’ll try to work with maximum precision and focus on every single detail.”

Circuit information

Country: Portugal
Name: Autodromo Internacional do Algarve
Length: 4.592 km
Corners: 15 (6 left, 9 right)
Pole position: left
Race distance: 20 laps/91.840 km

Fastest lap: Sykes (Kawasaki), 1:41.360 (163,090 km/h) – 2013
Circuit record: Sykes (Kawasaki), 1:42.475 (161,320 km/h) – 2013
Superpole: Sykes (Kawasaki), 1:41.360 (163,090 km/h) – 2013

Race 1: Rea (Kawasaki), Davies (Ducati), Melandri (Ducati)
Race 2: Rea (Kawasaki), VD Mark (Yamaha), Melandri (Ducati)

Rider information

Chaz Davies
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 7
Age: 31 (Born 10/02/1987 in Knighton, Wales)
SBK races: 170
SBK wins: 29
SBK podiums: 78

Marco Melandri
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 33
Age: 35 (Born 07/08/1982 in Ravenna, Italy)
SBK races: 146
SBK wins: 22
SBK podiums: 68

Michael Ruben Rinaldi
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 21
Age: 22 (Born 12/21/1995 in Rimini, Italy)
SBK races: 12
SBK wins: –
SBK podiums: –

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