Ahead of its return to the track next month, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team concluded a two-day collective test at Autodromo do Algarve in Portimão (Portugal). With some chassis and setup upgrades to evaluate, as well as several new tyre options brought by Pirelli, Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri took advantage of the time on track to also prepare the upcoming race on the Portuguese track, scheduled for September 14-16.
Melandri, who led the time sheets in the opening day, finished the tests in 4th position overall with 158 laps under his belt, the best of which in 1:42.254. Davies, who suffered a collarbone fracture about a month ago, proved to be in strong physical conditions to clock 119 laps and placed himself in 5th position with a personal best of 1:42.564.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi also enjoyed a chance to get acquainted with the Portimão track onboard the Panigale R of the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team, showing steady improvements in between the two sessions and posting a 1:42.862 to finish in 10th position. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will resume action on September 14 at Portimão for the 10th round of the WorldSBK Championship.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 1:42.254 (4th)
"The test went well. Last year we struggled on this track due to the bumpy tarmac, but I have to say they did a good job, especially in fast corners. The conditions were still tricky though, especially in the afternoon when the temperatures rise and the wind blows stronger. We had some interesting things to try, and lots of new tires with different measurements, so we had a comprehensive program to follow. We progressively improved our performance, focusing on fine-tuning the setup for the race, while we still need to improve with a qualifying tire. Our pace was more consistent today, and we're all pretty close at the top in this regard."
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:42.564 (5th)
"I'm pretty happy, we got an overall idea of a base setup for the race and we also tried some components which give us a better understanding of where we're at. I didn't want to push it too much and overstep the mark, and I also didn't use a qualifying tyre, in contrast to the riders in front of us. We focused on different upgrades in terms of brakes, suspension, and electronics. Obviously the shoulder was also something important to test, I wanted to check the collarbone under braking, which doesn't get much harder than at turn 1 here, and I didn't feel any pain so I'm very happy."
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21) – 1:42.862 (10th)
"This test was very useful. Given that it's been a while since the last time we rode, on the first day I had to reacquaint myself with the Panigale R. Today, on the other hand, we tried to go for a quick lap time in the morning with a cooler tarmac, then we focused on the race setup but we still improved the lap time towards with a race tire and 50 degrees on the tarmac. I'm very happy, we did a good job and we're not far from Chaz and Marco, even though our pace can still be better."