The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team stepped back on the podium in Race 1 at Brno (Czech Republic), home of Round 7 of the WorldSBK Championship, thanks to Marco Melandri’s second-place finish.
The Italian, third in Superpole, had the lead within his sight before the race was red-flagged due to a crash by Michael Ruben Rinaldi (who then was able to restart) at turn 5, which damaged the air fences. At the second start, Melandri once again tried to hunt down Rea but some grip issues prompted him to settle for second place.
Similar difficulties, albeit on a bigger scale, penalized also Chaz Davies. The Welshman, despite fighting with his usual determination, raced in the leading group early on but was then forced to drop the pace, finishing in eighth position. Michael Ruben Rinaldi, on track with the Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team, started from the back of the grid at the restart, climbing back several positions to score points in 15th place.
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team will return to the track Sunday, June 10th, at 09:35 local time (CET) for a warm-up session before Race 2, which is scheduled to start at 13:00.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 2nd
“After a difficult round, we managed to be competitive once again. It’s always nice to be on the podium, but track conditions today were really tricky. We lacked grip and the bike understeered. At the first start we were right behind Rea, who made a couple of mistakes, but at the restart I knew it would have been harder because the temperatures rose further. Still, we can be happy because we managed a difficult situation quite well. We solved most of our issues, even though we still need to improve. Tomorrow, it’ll be crucial to start well from third row and be fast early on, then anything can happen.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 8th
“It was a tough race. Initially I felt quite OK but, as the temperatures increased, the grip went away really quickly after just a couple of laps, and then after mid-race the rear grip was very low so I had to take more risks and I struggled also with the front. I did everything I could to make it to the finish line in a decent position. We need to look into these issues further to understand what caused them and how to improve because, once we get the old feeling back, I know what we’re capable of.”
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team #21) – 15th
“I’m sorry for the crash, because we were competitive. Fortunately, the red flags allowed me to get back to the pits and the crew did a great job to get the second bike, which had a different setup, ready. We scored one point starting from the back of the grid, which is something important for the morale of the whole team. We’ll try to bounce back tomorrow, without making mistakes.”
Stefano Cecconi, Aruba CEO and Team Principal
“It was a two-sided race. On the one hand, Marco regained his feeling with the bike after a difficult round and was able to ride constantly at the front; on the other hand, Chaz was penalized by some clear issues despite a good start. Both gave their all, as usual. Now it’s up to us to put them in the condition to fully express their potential tomorrow, and we’ll work hard towards this goal.”