After an eventful start to its pre-season tests at Phillip Island (Australia) on Monday, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team resumed action today for a second and final day of testing ahead of the opening round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, scheduled for this upcoming weekend on the same track. In warmer weather conditions – with approximately 25 degrees outside and 40 on the tarmac – Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies moved forward with the work on the race setup of the Panigale R, posting the 3rd and 11th fastest time respectively today.
Melandri, who yesterday topped the sheets with a 1:30.726 that puts him in 2nd place in the combined rankings, focused his work on the chassis to improve the overall stability in light of the strong lateral winds, finishing with a 1:31.053. Davies, on the other hand, improved his lap times by circa half a second compared with yesterday, drawing multiple comparisons and posting a 1:31.614, 11th fastest overall.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will take it back to the track on Friday at 09:45 local time (CET +10) for the first official practice session ahead of the opening races of the year, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 1:30.726 (2nd)
"It's been a couple of intense days of testing, during which we improved under many aspects. We gathered plenty of data but today wasn't easy because track conditions changed once more compared with yesterday, and we struggled once again with stability, especially on the main straight. Our lap times are competitive, but we still need to improve to be more consistent over the race distance. The races here are always very tactical, so it's hard to make predictions, but we're very motivated and keen to get started."
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:31.614 (11th)
"We focused on consistency, lapping mostly with one tire to better evaluate all the modifications we were trying. I feel better on the bike, even though the lap times don't show it yet. We've basically covered all the items in the program. We're still looking for improvements in some key areas but we have some more upgrades coming for round 1 so I'm optimistic about our chances to make steps forward and be competitive come race weekend."