The two Aruba.it Racing - Ducati riders Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies wrapped up a one-day private test today that the Borgo Panigale squad organized at the Autodromo di Imola in preparation for the Italian Round of the Superbike World Championship, which will be held here in just over two weeks’ time.
The track day gave an opportunity to both riders to put in some serious lapping on board their Ducati Panigale V4 R machines and prepare for their home race, which as every year promises to be a true spectacle for the Ducatisti.
For championship leader Bautista, it was the first time ever that he had seen the Imola circuit, but the 34-year-old from Spain immediately got to grips with the difficult ups and downs of the track, one of the four circuits on the calendar where he has never raced (the others are Portimao, Magny-Cours and El Villicum), while for his 32-year-old British team-mate it was a welcome return to a track which saw him pick up a double win both in 2016 and in 2017, on both occasions with a Panigale V2.
Towards 5 pm, track activity was disturbed by a sudden downpour, which however did not prevent Álvaro from putting in a few laps on rain tyres, the Spaniard making use of the chance to lap with a Superbike and Pirelli tyres in wet conditions.
There was a good turn-out of enthusiastic fans who filled the main grandstand of the Imola circuit, and who at the end of the day also had a chance to enter the pit-lane, where Álvaro and Chaz greeted them in front of the Ducati garages for an autograph session.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19)
“Today was a really positive day because I had a chance to test at Imola, a track I’ve never been to before. Now I’ve got some markers for the race weekend, which is the most important thing, and also I have to say that we were lucky to have the rain towards the end of the test because this allowed me to lap in the wet for the first time with this bike and these tyres. I’m very pleased because I started becoming confident with the bike also in these conditions, which are the only ones we haven’t encountered this year. I want to thank the Autodromo di Imola and all the fans who came here despite the bad weather, let’s hope we can also arrive at a competitive level during the race weekend.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)
“Today was not so bad, although it took a while for the track to dry out this morning, then we got some laps this afternoon and we were getting some decent data. Unfortunately, the day was cut short by a bit of rain but we still got some useful information here for the race, just to short cut the learning curve in the weekend. There are still a couple of question marks over some changes we made today, which we were looking to verify before the rain came, but overall the feeling is not so bad. I’m looking forward to racing here in front of the home crowd in a couple of weeks. Imola is always a special place, and the fans here are so enthusiastic.”