The fifth round of the Superbike World Championship at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola got off to a positive start for both riders of the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team.
Right from this morning’s first free practice session, Davies showed he had a good feeling with the Imola circuit, where the Welsh rider has already won four times and today he was able to set second quickest time behind the Kawasaki of Rea. In the afternoon session, Chaz then knocked another four tenths of a second off his time to remain in second place in the provisional timesheets behind his northern Irish rival.
It was a good first outing on the Imola track for his team-mate Álvaro Bautista, championship leader with 11 wins out of 11. Third in FP1, the Spanish rider shaved a further two-tenths off his best time in the afternoon to end the day in fourth place.
Tomorrow the third and final free practice session will be held at 09:00 CET, followed two hours later at 11:00 by Superpole qualifying for the starting-grid line-up for Race 1, which gets underway at 14:00.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 2nd (1’46.529)
“It’s been a while since I’ve ended Friday in the top 3 so that was pretty good and we made a big step forward. Honestly the momentum has been going the right way in the last couple of races and Imola is a good time to try and turn over the page a bit. Having said that, I’m not 100% happy with the feeling with my Panigale V4 R so I hope I can turn things around for tomorrow because I feel I’ve got some good margin to improve the lap time. If we can make the right changes, I don’t see why we can’t fight for the win tomorrow.”
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 4th (1’47.086)
“Today was a positive day because it’s the first time I have ever raced at Imola. Right away I found a good feeling with the track, while unlike the other races, I still have to improve the feeling with my bike, especially in corner turn-in, but in the afternoon we made some changes and the feeling was better. Today we always worked in view of the race and we did more than the total laps with quite a good pace. Probably we still have to improve the stability of the bike because on this track the bike is almost always leaning and you don’t have any breathing space.”