- Giugliano brings his 1199 Panigale home in fourth place in the Australian season opener
- Davies closes today’s races seventh and eighth
Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 23 February 2014 – Davide Giugliano and the Ducati Superbike team made a very promising start to the 2014 Superbike World Championship today at Phillip Island, closing both races inside the top five, a very encouraging result coming at the end of a positive weekend. Chaz Davies closed the races in seventh and eighth position.
Race 1: Conditions were significantly warmer today, with the track temperature already at 39°C for race 1. Davies made a very quick start from eleventh on the grid, passing several riders through the first corners to position fifth at the end of lap one. On lap two, the British rider made the best lap of the race, 1’30.949, earning his first ‘Pirelli best lap award’ of the season and setting a new record with a lap time three tenths of a second faster than Laverty’s fast lap at this track in 2013. Chaz lost a couple of positions in the subsequent phase and from mid-race tyre wear began to impact on his performance, leaving him with no option but to slow down. Separated from both the group immediately ahead of him and the chasing group, Chaz was able to hold eighth position to the line.
Starting from second position on the grid, Giugliano made a strong start, tucking himself in in third place behind frontrunners Melandri and Guintoli. He held this position through the opening stages but, unfortunately, he too began to suffer from a lack of rear grip throughout the second half of the race that prevented him from being able to continue his battle with the three leaders (Melandri, Guintoli and Laverty). The young Italian rider thus closed this first race of the 2014 season in fourth place, a very respectable result considering the hot track conditions and ensuing circumstances.
Race 2: The track temperature had risen to 48°C for the second race. Davies was lying ninth after the first lap but then quickly moved up through the field to position himself fifth by lap eight. Unfortunately an electronic problem caused by a stone perforating the front fairing of his Panigale slowed him down from the tenth lap onwards and, when the race was brought to a premature end after 14 laps (with Laverty’s bike having left oil on track), Davies crossed the line in final seventh place.
Giugliano again started strongly and was once again in third position behind Melandri and Guintoli. He lost a few places through the subsequent laps as he tried to manage his race in the tricky conditions. He had just started to push, and was starting to catch those ahead of him when the red flag came out, signalling the end of the race. He therefore closed in fourth position for the second time today.
At the conclusion of this first championship round, Giugliano lies fourth in the general standings, with 26 points, while Davies is eighth with 17 points. Ducati places fourth in the manufacturer’s classification with 26 points.
Quotes after the races:
Davide Giugliano - Ducati Superbike Team #34
“In race 1 I was quite relaxed. I managed to lap fast by only riding at about 70%, saving that extra 30% for the end of the race but unfortunately the grip became an issue maybe five or six from the end. In the second race, I immediately realised that conditions were warmer than the first and so I tried to limit the damage by holding back a little. Then later I started to push and was catching those ahead of me – I think I could have battled for the podium if the race had gone full distance but unfortunately they stopped the race after 14 laps. Anyway, overall it’s been a great weekend. We’ve shown that, as far as the chassis and my riding is concerned, that we’ve arrived. We were consistently fast throughout the weekend and this gives us confidence for the next races. Today’s results are very encouraging for me, for the team and for Ducati.”
Chaz Davies - Ducati Superbike Team #7
“I am a little disappointed in terms of race results. In race one we had a rear tyre issue and I gradually lost grip from maybe the mid-race point. Race 2 was a little better, I was hanging in there with the front group, managing to edge my way up through the field to about fifth. Then at about lap 10 I felt like I lost power and so I slowed down because I didn’t know what was happening. It was a shame as I think we were in for a better result in race 2. I felt more comfortable, with the team having made some changes between the first and second races. Anyway, there are positives to take away from the weekend. Solid points in each race for example – it’s the first time I’ve scored points in both Superbike races at Phillip Island. I also made the fastest lap of race one. But I know we’re capable of more, everyone’s working hard and the bike is feeling good. Roll on Aragon.”
Ernesto Marinelli - Ducati Superbike Project Director
“As often happens at this track, the stresses on the rear tyre somewhat conditioned our races today, but we nevertheless brought home important points. Davide’s two fourth place finishes, coming at the end of a weekend in which he was consistently among the frontrunners, and Chaz’s lap record in race 1 confirm that their talent combined with the potential of our Panigale allows us to fight for the positions that count. I’m very pleased with the work of our entire team and I want to thank the guys in Ducati Corse in Bologna who, with hard work and determination, are moving the development of this project forward.”
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