Imola (Italy), Sunday 11 May 2014 – The fourth round of the Superbike World Championship, that took place today at the Imola circuit in Italy, proved to be a happy hunting ground for Chaz Davies and the Ducati Superbike Team who powered the 1199 Panigale to a second place finish in both of the day’s hard-fought Superbike races.
Race 1 – in cooler temperatures than yesterday (air temperature 22°C, track 30°C), Davies got away extremely well from fourth on the grid and by the end of lap one he was already lying second, behind Rea. During the first half of the race the Ducati Superbike man battled it out with both Sykes and Guintoli and although he lost his hold on second place for a few laps, he regained control when he got back in front of Guintoli on lap fourteen. In the final stages of the race Davies managed his tyres well and was able to increase his pace, lapping quicker than the other riders and building a gap between himself and the chasing pack. Chaz therefore crossed the line in final second place, his first podium of the 2014 season.
Giugliano did not make the quickest start and was seventh through the first laps. Starting to push to chase Melandri, Davide got past the Aprilia man on lap seven and then got into a rhythm which allowed him to close the gap between himself and Baz and Sykes, immediately ahead. Unfortunately on lap twelve, just when he was positioned right behind the two Kawasakis, the Italian rider crashed, losing the front of his bike. Unfortunately what could have been a great race for Giugliano came to a premature end.
Race 2 – Giugliano got away very fast, lapping third at the end of lap one. Unfortunately, after only five or six laps, the bike started to bounce which caused him to lose feeling during braking, slowing him down and making him lose a few positions. Chaz, who didn’t get as well as fast as he did in race 1, immediately began to push and made up for lost ground over the first half of the race, passing first Melandri and then his teammate Giugliano. At the mid-race point Chaz was up into fourth, while Davide, sixth, was forced to ride a prudent second half and was unable to attack; he nevertheless closed in a solid sixth position. Chaz, able to push harder than his rivals in the final stages, reached and passed first Sykes and then Guintoli to move into second place three laps from the end. Maintaining concentration right to the line, he passed under the chequered flag in second position. Chaz’s double podium is an important result for Ducati, racing at its home track in front of large crowds of fans and ducatisti.
At the end of this fourth world championship round, Davies lies in fifth position in the standings with 87 points, Giugliano is seventh with 69 points. In the manufacturer’s standings, Ducati is fourth with 113 points.
Quotes after the races:
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 2nd, 2nd
“These have been the best races of the season and undoubtedly my best race weekend so far, in that we’ve been consistently strong since Friday. It’s great to be on the podium and is the best way to thank Ducati and all of the guys, both in the team and the factory, for all of their hard work. Race 1 was difficult, Jonathan got away quickly and there was no way to stay with him but we had a good battle behind him. Race 2 turned out to be pretty similar. We chose a fairly standard setting today and I was able to ride really well. I can almost ride the bike as I would like, we just have a small problem with rear vibration to iron out but tomorrow, during the tests, we will also work on this and I’m sure we’ll be able to improve. I’m very pleased with the double podium of course and it confirms how much work has been done in Ducati over the last months, so I want to dedicate today’s results to Ducati and all the fans.”
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – DNF, 6th
“It wasn’t the day that I’d expected but I have to look at the positives, or rather the fact that we’ve collected important data which we can use to improve and avoid problems in the future. Unfortunately a crash in race one compromised a race that hadn’t got off to a great start. I was catching up to those ahead quite quickly but then crashed and there was nothing to do about it. In the second I got away well, I was faster than Sylvain but, from the fifth or sixth lap I suffered a big drop and lost a lot of ground. Anyway, tomorrow we are here testing and will work hard to be more competitive at Donington.”
Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director
“We’re really pleased with Chaz’s results today; every time we go out on track we are able to improve and today’s double podium confirms this positive trend that we’ve seen in recent months. We’re still missing that final step, and this is why we’ll continue to work to be even more competitive, but we’re heading in the right direction. It was a real shame about Davide and the problems he had today. If it hadn’t been for the crash in race 1, he would have been able to reach the podium. His day didn’t go to plan but that is racing in the end. We will turn the page and, with optimism and faith, we’ll concentrate on the tests and the next round at Donington.”
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