Melandri 6th and Davies 9th for Ducati at Phillip Island
Ahead of the first race of 2018, Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team have resumed action on track today (Friday 23rd February) at Phillip Island in Australia for the first free-practice sessions of the 2018 World Superbike Championship.
This year there is a new format with three 40-minute sessions. After early wet conditions, Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies took advantage of improving weather conditions to finish 6th and 9th respectively.
The Ducati team will resume action on Saturday for the fourth and last free-practice session ahead of Superpole and Race 1.
Marco Melandri said; "Today was positive, despite the erratic weather. I like this track a lot, and it suits our bike. I feel in great shape and, together with the team, we worked with more ease, given the year of experience under our belts. The Panigale R has improved since the tests. Tomorrow, it'll be crucial to ride a fast lap in Superpole and then find a pace that allows us to manage the tires better than the others. Many riders can be fast, but only a few will be competitive towards the end, once the tires drop."
Chaz Davies said; "Overall, it's been a positive day. The final lap times probably don't show the full picture here, and even though ninth position isn't exciting on paper, I feel happier than after the tests. We stepped forward a little bit despite the fact that we still have room for improvement. FP3 wasn't too smooth, we had a couple of issues that kept us in the garage for a while, but we're going in the right direction. Also, physically we seemed to have turned a corner. We're probably better off in a race situation than what we are on the time sheets."
Below is a look ahead at the weekend schedule:
Saturday 24th February:
09:40 – 10:00 FP4
12:30 – 12.45 Superpole 1
12:55 – 13:10 Superpole 2
15:00 SBK Race 1
Sunday 25th February:
10:30 – 10:45 Warm-up
15:00 SBK Race 2