After the traditional Australian season opener, the 2018 Superbike calendar has in store another race far east, to take place at the Chang International circuit.
The bikes and the equipment were shipped directly from Phillip Island to Buriram, while the riders and teams went back to Europe with another intercontinental trip on their schedule, to Thailand this time, only 3 weeks after.
Marco Melandri couldn’t have had a better start of the season, with two statement wins in Australia that propped him up at the top of the table. The Italian rider has been in top form lately and the confidence he reached with the Panigale R is now absolute. In turn, Chez Davies tackled the Australian round challenge with a few after-effects of last November’s accident in Jerez, and his performance was somehow affected by it. After the third place during Race 1, the Welsh rider was at the lead of the second race and a bust of eagerness caused him to force his hand just enough to end up on the tarmac. Moving on, Xavi Forès has finally proven his talent beyond any doubt in Australia. After a super first race ended at the edge of the podium, during Race 2 the Spaniard displayed outstanding prowess and ended up third after being in the lead for many laps. If Melandri leads the world standings with a perfect score, Forès and the Barni Racing Team are first in the special independent racers and teams table.
For the third year in a row the Superbike championship stops at the Chang International circuit. The Thai racing track is quite linear, with very long straights alternating with slow bends. It is not exactly the perfect hunting ground for the Panigale R, which so far has not yet managed to clinch a win on this tarmac. But then again, it should be said that the good performances in Australia also stem from the extensive fine tuning work on the bike; the Ducati riders are ready to give battle in Buriram, too.
For your convenience you can find below the racing weekend timetable