After a day of free-practice, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team took it back to the track today at Losail (Qatar) for Race 1. Due to a difficult Superpole, Melandri and Davies started from ninth and twelfth position respectively, determined to make a strong comeback during the race. Both riders enjoyed a strong start and progressively recovered positions to fight for the top five for most of the race. Melandri eventually finished in fifth place, while Davies was misled along with other riders by a wrong message on the display over the finish line – an unfortunate circumstance, even though in these cases it's the checkered flag that declares a race over – concluding the race in eighth position but managing to preserve a 23-point lead in the chase for second position in the Riders championship.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action on Saturday, October 27th, at 15:30 local time (CET +1) for one warm-up session ahead of Race 2, which is scheduled to start at 19:00.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 5th
"Going into this round, I wasn't expecting the kind of race we had today, and unfortunately it was tough for all Ducati riders. We couldn't really do what we wanted with the bike, we were struggling to stop and turn it, and we also had some issues with traction. Due to that, I had to ride more aggressively and the tires dropped down a lot. Tomorrow we'll start from first row, which is better, but we still need to improve the setup with the rear to put up a challenge. Warm-up will be important to this end. We'd like to finish strong."
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 8th
"We started a bit behind after a tough qualifying and then we began to make our way back. I eventually caught up with Marco and Xavi, closing up on them in the middle part of the race, but then I started to feel the front tucking with five laps to go and it got progressively worse. Our priority is to finish second in the championship so I just tried to hold position. Once Baz passed me, I saw 'final lap' on the display on the finish line, even though it was shown too early by accident, so I closed the throttle once I was over the line in the following lap. I lost a point and a position on the grid for tomorrow, which is a bit disappointing, but we also need to improve to finish stronger in our last race of the year."
Serafino Foti, Team Manager
"It's been a complicated race since we weren't able to find the best possible setup to allow both our riders to express themselves at the top of their capabilities. At any rate, we collected important data, which we'll now analyze to try to improve our performance in Race 2 tomorrow and finish the year in the best possible way."
Weekend schedule (CET +1):
Saturday (October 27th)
15:30 - 15:45 SBK Warm-up
19:00 SBK Race 2