Once again this year Assen was tough on Ducati. Davies's podium in Race 1 was the best result in the Netherlands, with a fifth place in the second fraction. Melandri was slowed by alignment problems that limited him to sixth and seventh place finishes. After the positive debut in Aragon, Michael Rinaldi also struggled in Holland. The third place in FP3 demonstrated that the rider from Romagna has the speed to challenge the best, but the rest of the weekend was not as successful. In contrast, Xavi Forés's consistently high level of performance is no longer surprising. The Spaniard is putting his three years with the Barni Racing Team to good use, showing a constancy that we didn't know he had. At Assen Xavi got down to business, earning crucial points with a fourth and a fifth place.
Next on the schedule is the race in Imola, where historically the reds of Borgo Panigale have always achieved excellent results. The 2016 and 2017 editions of the Imola race saw the triumph of Chaz Davies, in both editions riding to decisive double wins, without forgetting the five wins of Carlos Checa on the track from 2010 to 2012. Ruben Xaus (2001-2003), Regis Laconi (2004), Troy Bayliss (2006), Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio (2009) were also able to triumph on their Ducatis at Imola.
Davies and Melandri will present themselves in Imola more combative than ever to try to close the gap that separates them from the top of the standings, ready to battle along the five kilometres of the track situated on the banks of the Santerno river. For Rinaldi it's another chance to perform well on a track that last season set the stage for a great victory to triumph in the Superstock championship. Forès will also be ready to fight as always, well supported by the Panigale R entrusted to the Barni Racing Team.
The continental review of the Superstock 1000 will also be on the track in Imola, featuring the Ducati Panigale Rs of Motocorsa Racing ridden by Federico Sandi and TJ Alberto. For the Italian rider it's a good opportunity to achieve a positive result on a friendly track, while for the Asian rider his apprenticeship continues on a track that he already faced last year in the Italian championship.
The Imola track is only 40 kilometres from Borgo Panigale, so it's logical to consider the Italian round as Ducati's home race. As always many Ducatistas will fill the stands of the Imola track throughout the weekend, offering their loud support to the riders and Ducati teams on the track with the cry of #ForzaDucati!
Here you can find the racing weekend timetable: