After taking two podiums in Argentina less than two weeks ago, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to start the last round of the season at Losail (Qatar), the only track on the calendar that hosts races at night. In the past, the team has collected strong results at the circuit on the outskirts of Doha, with two wins – by Chaz Davies – and six collective podiums in just as many races in the past three years.
Davies heads into Round 13 with second position in the championship in his sight – he currently leads by 24 points in the standings – and, having finished either first or second in the past four races at Losail, he is keen to take advantage of the characteristics of the track to close the year as runner-up, a position achieved twice in the past three seasons. Melandri, who already collected four podiums after the summer break, is keen to extend his positive streak to finish the year on a high note. The Qatari round will also have a historical meaning as it will be the last race on the world stage with the Panigale R, the last model in a long and successful tradition of racing V-twins designed and developed by Ducati, ahead of the highly anticipated debut of the Panigale V4.
After 12 rounds, Davies (348 points) and Melandri (286 points) are respectively second and fifth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action on Thursday, October 25th, at 16:20 local time (CET +1) for the first free-practice session.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)
"Qatar has been good to us in recent years, we had a double win there in 2016 and a double second-place last year. There's still second position in the championship up for grabs, and to this end we have a healthy cushion going into the last round, so the plan is to just do our best and clinch it. Also, it will be a round of mixed emotions as we'll have our last dance with the V-twin. We had a lot of good memories with this bike, and we'll try to give the best possible performance to say goodbye to it, but it's also exciting as we're starting a new era with the V4."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33)
"Losail is one of the most fun and spectacular tracks on the calendar. To race at night, moreover, makes it special even though the preparation for the race itself doesn't change. It's a flowing track, with smooth lines, so on paper it suits my riding style quite well. We've been working really well with the whole team lately and, after the double podium in Argentina, I expect us to be competitive also in Qatar. It's very important for us to finish the year on a high note."
Name: Losail International Circuit
Length: 5.380 km
Corners: 16 (6 left, 10 right)
Pole position: left
Race distance: 17 laps/91.460 km
Fastest lap: Rea (Kawasaki), 1:56.228 (166,640 km/h) – 2017
Circuit record: Rea (Kawasaki), 1:56.974 (165,575 km/h) – 2016
Superpole: Rea (Kawasaki), 1:56.228 (166,640 km/h) – 2017
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 7
Age: 31 (Born 10/02/1987 in Knighton, Wales)
SBK races: 176
SBK wins: 29
SBK podiums: 79
Bike: Ducati Panigale R
Race number: 33
Age: 35 (Born 07/08/1982 in Ravenna, Italy)
SBK races: 152
SBK wins: 22
SBK podiums: 72
Weekend schedule (CET +1):
Thursday (October 25th)
16:20 - 17:00 SBK FP1
18:45 - 19:25 SBK FP2
20:45 - 21:25 SBK FP3
Friday (October 26th)
14:25 - 14:45 SBK FP4
16:30 - 16:45 SBK Superpole 1
16:55 - 17:10 SBK Superpole 2
19:00 SBK Race 1
Saturday (October 27th)
15:30 - 15:45 SBK Warm-up
19:00 SBK Race 2