The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team resumed action today in Buriram (Thailand) for the second round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. The first two free-practice sessions yielded positive results for both Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, who set the third and fourthbest time respectively on Friday.
Despite the fact that the Buriram track has been historically difficult, Melandri and Davies immediately found a good feeling with their Panigale Rs. To this end, the Italian and the Welshman were second and third at the end of FP1.
In the afternoon, with higher temperatures, both riders worked extensively on used tyres, focusing on race pace. Melandri basically posted identical times compared with FP1, closing in third position in the combined rankings, +0.279 slower than the provisional best time of 1:33.573 (Rea). Davies, on the other hand, was able to improve by another tenth of a second in the final minutes, posting the third-best time of FP2 and fourth overall, only 43 thousandths of a second behind his teammate. Both riders thus gained direct access to Superpole 2.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be back on track tomorrow at 10:45 local (CET +6) for FP3 ahead of Superpole and Race 1, which is scheduled to start at 16:00 local time.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 1:33.852 (3rd)
“I’m happy because the team has done a great job and my Panigale R immediately gave me good feedback. This track is more technical than what it looks like: it features hard-braking areas, fast corners, a bit of everything…It’s fun to ride, but I still need to improve under braking and in terms of my lines, especially in the third sector. Still, today went better than what we expected. It will be hard to race in such hot conditions. It would be great to secure front row once again and get a good start. I think the Kawasakis still have an advantage, but we’re ready to make things difficult for them.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:33.895 (4th)
“Today we’ve been working on our program to get the bike in the ballpark, building our confidence progressively, and it looks like we’re all quite evenly matched in the four top positions. It’s the first time here that the track actually allows us to attack from the very first laps. We’ve made good steps forward in between sessions, but there’s still a couple of areas in which to improve, especially the third sector. We need to find one or two tenths there, but our pace is quite competitive nonetheless. I did my best lap on used tyres this afternoon, so overall it’s been a good first day.”
Weekend schedule (CET +6)
10:45 – 11:10 SBK FP3
13:30 – 13.45 SBK Superpole 1
13:55 – 14:10 SBK Superpole 2
16:00 SBK Race 1
11:30 – 11:45 SBK Warm-up
16:00 SBK Race 2
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