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WORLD SUPERBIKES

Ducati team back on track in Jerez for the first tests of 2017

With the season opener in Australia almost a month away, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team resumed action in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) with Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies for the first tests of 2017.

Both riders followed a detailed program to evaluate various engine, electronics and chassis upgrades developed for the Panigale R, making several setup comparisons.

Melandri and Davies clocked 124 and 131 laps respectively, posting almost identical lap times and both showing steady improvements in terms of lap times as well as race pace. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action on January 28-29 in Portimão (Portugal) before heading to Phillip Island (Australia) for the final pre-season tests ahead of the first race of the season.

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) 1:40.313
“It’s been a really positive test. I expected some more difficulties after the meniscus surgery, but actually I felt quite well. The team is doing a great job and everyday I feel more comfortable on the bike. We still struggle a bit on fresh tyres, also because with the cold climate it’s more difficult to warm them up, but we’re heading in the right direction. I would have liked to do a race simulation, but we’ll wait until Portimão because I had some blisters in my hands after such a long break. Physically I feel fine though, I recovered completely and I’m sure I’ll be 100 percent fit for Phillip Island.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) 1:40.324
“All in all, this first test has been OK. It’s always a bit tiring from a physical standpoint because we step on the bike for the first time in two months, but we progressively got into the swing of things. Also, Ducati brought a lot of stuff and we ticked off the most important items on the list, but we still got work to do in Portimão. We got progressively quicker, even mixing things up a bit in terms of our setup. That’s what testing is about, working through a program slowly but surely to step up to new challenges. If I had to race tomorrow, we would probably stick to a more familiar setting, but we’ll focus on pushing the boundaries before heading to Australia.”

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