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The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team seizes a memorable win in Race 1 at Laguna Seca with Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri is 4th
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team enjoyed a day to remember at Laguna Seca (U.S.A.) thanks to Chaz Davies’ win in Race 1. The Welshman thus brought his season’s tally to four victories, for a total 24 in his WorldSBK career, 20 of which came with Ducati.
Coming back from an injury that forced him to skip Race 2 at Misano three weeks ago, Davies quickly pulled away at the start with the two factory Kawasaki starting from third position. He then took the lead during lap 11, and with three laps to go he gave the final, decisive push.
Marco Melandri, who showed a front-running pace during practice, struggled with grip instead and was forced to play defense to finish in fourth position, collecting important points nonetheless. The Italian will thus start from pole position in Race 2, while his teammate will be ninth on the grid. Both riders raced with a spe
cial livery that mirrors that of the 1299 Panigale R Final Edition – which was previewed to the public at Laguna Seca – with the typical colors of the Italian flag. The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action at 10:30 (CET -9) tomorrow for warm-up ahead of Race 2 (scheduled to start at 14:00).
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 1st
“It’s been a couple of tough weeks, sitting on the sofa or the physio bed, so to come back and win at Laguna Seca is special. This victory means a lot to me, because I’ve been talking to my crew before coming here and I said ‘if I can race, I’ll be ready to have a go at the victory’. But, it’s easier said than done. The race was tough. Track temperatures were really high and the grip level dropped. I couldn’t trust the front completely, but managed my own race. I was expecting Johnny to attack in the final laps but that moment never came and we sealed one of the most memorable wins of my career. Now we’ll think about a strategy to attack starting from third row tomorrow.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 4th
“Today’s race has been a bit disappointing because we had a really strong pace during practice but we unexpectedly struggled a lot with grip during the race itself, both with the front and rear. At the beginning, I couldn’t push and I was hoping to improve as the race went on but unfortunately it was the other way around. I simply tried to score the best possible result today, and we couldn’t do better than fourth this time. The heat made things more difficult for everyone, but we need to understand why we had a more significant drop. To start from pole tomorrow is relatively important, first of all we need to solve the issues we encountered today but I’m confident we’ll do it.”
Stefano Cecconi, Aruba S.p.A. CEO and Team Principal
“To win with Chaz, who was coming back from an injury and a couple of difficult weeks, is special. This track suits both him and the Panigale R, and today’s race shows it. We managed to preserve our competitiveness after Misano. It’s a pity that Marco struggled during the race after showing some very positive signals during practice, but we’re confident we can race at the top with both of them tomorrow.”
Claudio Domenicali, Ducati Motor Holding CEO
“Today’s win is particularly sweet, not only from a competitive standpoint, but also because it came with the colors of the 1299 Panigale R Final Edition. It’s a bike we designed to celebrate an engine that has made history in WorldSBK and, delivering 209 horsepower and weighing kilograms, it’s the most powerful Ducati ever produced aside from limited editions. We previewed it worldwide here at Laguna Seca, and it’s been emotional to see the colors of the Italian flag take center stage both on track and on the podium.”