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The second half of the championship gets underway for the Aruba.it Racing

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team goes back to its roots this weekend at the Donington Park circuit in Britain, where the Superbike World Championship for production-based machinery first got underway 32 years ago. After the Misano weekend, the Italian team has now arrived in England for the eighth round of 13, which marks the start of the second half of the season.

Even though he has an advantage that is now down to 16 points over his chief rival Rea (Kawasaki), Bautista continues to lead the table with 330 points, but the 34-year-old from Talavera de la Reina knows that he cannot afford any more setbacks in what will be his first race on a Superbike machine at Donington.

For his part, his 32-year-old Welsh team-mate Chaz Davies, who in his lengthy career has not yet won an SBK race at Donington, is refusing to give up and will continue to work hard to improve and find the right feeling with his Panigale V4 R.

The SBK World Championship returns to action therefore at a track where, out of the 52 races held so far, Ducati riders have won 17 times, the last of which however in 2011 with Carlos Checa: on just two occasions (1995 with Carl Fogarty and 1996 with Troy Corser) have they scored a double win.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be out on track on Friday at 10:30 local time (11:30 CET) for the first free practice session, while the weekend schedule sees Race 1 take place at 14:00 (15:00 CET) on Saturday, the Superpole Race at 11:00 (12:00 CET) on Sunday, followed by Race 2 at 14:00 (15:00 CET).

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st (330 points)
"I have to learn from my mistakes of the last two rounds, because I think I was a bit over-confident; now we just have to concentrate on the next round. Donington Park is a track that I know quite well, but I’ve only raced there on smaller category bikes and never in MotoGP. The next two rounds at Donington, and immediately after at Laguna Seca, should be a bit different and interesting for us because they take place on two tracks where we don’t have any data with the Panigale V4 R. In any case our performance is quite high, so we’ll see if we can achieve the same level reached so far this season.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 8th (114 points)
“Donington is my home race, so it’s always nice to go back there. At the Misano round, we still didn’t feel like we’ve got a base set-up at the moment so I don’t know what to expect. The priority for me and the team is just to find something from the bike to make some steps forward. I’ve had some decent results over the years with Ducati, but only podiums, so I know we can go well around there. We’ll analyse the work schedule before going out on track on Friday morning, and together with the guys in the team, try and come up with something good for the weekend.”

The Donington Park circuit
For the Superbike World Championship, everything began way back in 1988 at the famous Donington Park circuit. Since that very first year – when the two winners were Davide Tardozzi (Bimota) and Marco Lucchinelli (Ducati) – the British track has been the venue for 52 World SBK races, and it always attracts an enthusiastic crowd. Set in amongst the splendid Leicestershire countryside, there are plenty of vantage points from which to view the magnificent Donington Park circuit, with corners like Craner Curves and Coppice to name but a few.

Circuit Record: Sykes (Kawasaki), 1’26.641 (167.16 km/h) - 2017
Fastest Lap: Rea (Kawasaki), 1’27.605 (165.32 km/h) - 2016
Track Length: 4.023 km
Race Distance: 2 x 23 laps (92.529 km), 1 x 10 laps (40.230 km)
Corners: 12 (5 left, 7 right)

Wednesday, 03 July 2019 13:51 Published in Rider and Team Releases


Double podium in the Superpole Race at Imola for the Aruba.it Racing

The fifth round of the Superbike World Championship, held at the Imola circuit this weekend, was hit by bad weather this afternoon, which led to the cancellation of all track activities. After the rain began to fall more intensely, Race Direction decided to send the riders out for a lap in the Safety Car and then get them to line up on the grid for an evaluation of the track conditions. After consultations with the riders, the right decision was taken to cancel the second race which had initially been scheduled for 14:00 CET.

In the morning, the ten-lap Superpole sprint race took place on a dry track, and this saw a double podium for both Aruba.it Racing – Ducati riders, Chaz Davies and Álvaro Bautista, who finished second and third at the flag behind Rea. While championship leader Bautista struggled to keep the pace of the Kawasaki man, Davies immediately powered into the lead from pole position, but a mistake at the Variante Bassa at the end of the opening lap dropped him down to third. Chaz then managed to pass his team-mate, setting fastest lap and the new circuit record on the way, but he was unable to close the gap separating him from Rea.

Following the Imola results, Bautista still has a firm grip on the leadership board with 263 points, 43 more than Rea, while Davies lies in sixth with 85 points. The next race in this year’s Superbike World Championship – the Spanish Round – will be held in four weeks’ time at Jerez de la Frontera from 7 to 9 June.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 2nd / -
"It’s a bit of a shame we never got the chance to do race 2 here at Imola but unfortunately in the wet this track has quite a few limits. Imola is not a normal circuit, and with these ups and downs you get a lot of standing water especially in the corners and these conditions meant that they had to cancel today’s race. It was the right decision, but I’m sorry for all the fans who stayed here in the rain all afternoon just to see us race. The positive thing is that we managed to do the sprint race, and judging by the result, it was a pity not to have been able to do the full-length second race. After a tough start to the season, I’m starting to see the light and my feeling with the Panigale V4 R is improving all the time. I go home from Imola knowing that I’ve made a lot of progress in view of the next races."

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #19) – 3rd / -
"Unfortunately the bad weather affected the second race, and it was raining really hard. The track conditions were dangerous, with a lot of water in some parts and streams crossing the track. It was too risky for the riders and it was the right decision to cancel the race. We feel really bad about that because we know that there are a lot of Superbike fans here, but rider safety is the most important aspect. Having the support of all the Ducatisti is incredible and even though I didn’t win a race, it was one of the best weekends in my entire career because I really felt their support. For this reason, I feel a bit sorry for them, but I think they will understand the situation.”

Monday, 13 May 2019 17:04 Published in Rider and Team Releases


Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team wraps up one-day private test at Autodromo di Imola

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.”

Wednesday, 24 April 2019 20:35 Published in Rider and Team Releases


Two more wins at Assen for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati rider, Álvaro Bautista, who equals Rea’s record of eleven victories in a row

Today was another memorable day for the championship leader Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati), who added another two victories to his start-of-season winning streak. With success in both races, the 34-year-old from Talavera de la Reina took his number of wins to eleven, equalling Jonathan Rea’s record set in the second half of last season.

While in the first race Bautista, who started from pole, took control right from the start, powering away to win over the Kawasaki rider with a margin of 3 seconds, in Race 2 he had to fight until the mid-point against a fierce group of contenders made up of the two Kawasaki men, the pair of Yamaha riders and his team-mate Chaz Davies. After passing leader Rea on lap 6, Álvaro fired in an impressive series of sub-1m35s laps, setting a new circuit record on the way, and he crossed the line almost five seconds ahead of home rider Van der Mark (Yamaha).

Chaz Davies brought home a seventh place in Race 1 and a fifth place in Race 2. Starting from seventh on the grid, the 32-year-old Welshman was not able to get in amongst the fight for the podium in the first race, because of a contact at the first turn, and he had to settle for the same position at the flag. In the second race, after an excellent start, he passed four rivals in the first six laps to slot in behind Bautista in second place. Unfortunately, at around the half-way point, he lost a bit of ground and ended the race in fifth place.

With eleven wins to his name, Bautista remains firmly in control of the championship standings on 236 points, 53 ahead of Rea, while Davies has moved up to sixth place with 76 points. The next World Superbike round, Ducati’s home event, will take place in three weeks’ time at the Autodromo di Imola, from 10 to 12 May.

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19) – 1st / 1st
“I’m very happy because I won two races at a circuit which was maybe not very favourable for us, and where the Kawasakis had always won in the past. The weekend didn’t get off to the best start on Friday, but in any case we managed to be consistent and competitive. Today we did two full-distance 21-lap races and I can tell you that I used up all my energy, but my training helped me a lot. In the first race in the morning there were very cold conditions, but I tried to get a good start and set my own pace right from the start. I was able to open up a bit of a gap on my rivals and manage the situation well to go on to win Race 1. In Race 2 to be honest I didn’t expect to see Rea ahead of me at Turn 4 because he was on the third row, but he made an incredible start. In the early laps I was taking it easy, trying to stay up and study him well but I could see that his pace was a bit slow so I decided to pass him. I always tried to give my all, in fact we also improved on the circuit record, so it was another wonderful weekend.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 7th / 5th
“Jumping onto the podium at Aragón was great then coming here and not getting a podium could be a bit of a disappointment, but I felt like I put together a decent second race. The first race was tough, I had a bit of contact with Johnny in the first corner, got pushed out and just didn’t make any progression in the race. The second race was good, I got a decent start and got up to second for a lap but then just struggled a bit with the balance of the bike after six or seven laps and in the longer corners in particular. We need to look at that and become more comfortable in these areas. It would have been nice to stay in the fight close to the podium, but it just goes to show that we have some work to do to improve in every track.”

Serafino Foti (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Team Manager)
“We’re clearly very happy because this weekend at Assen was another extraordinary one. Álvaro equalled Rea’s record of wins in a row, demonstrating once more his strength and talent even on a circuit with different characteristics to the previous ones. Even though we’ve won all the races so far, the championship is still long so we must remain focussed and continue working. As for Chaz, we’ve also seen some progress here, this weekend he fought hard to bring home the best result possible. We know his true potential and we’ll continue to work hard to put him in the condition to fight for the podium all the time. I want to thank all the guys in the team and everyone back in the factory for their commitment and the great job they’re doing.”

Monday, 15 April 2019 11:10 Published in Rider and Team Releases


Ducati notches up 350 victories in the Superbike World Championship, as Álvaro Bautista takes another triple of wins at MotorLand Aragón

This weekend was a truly extraordinary and emotional one for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati rider Álvaro Bautista, who with nine wins in a row continues his unbeaten run in his debut season in the production-based series. In front of his home crowd, the 34-year-old from Talavera de la Reina left his rivals trailing as he dominated both the 10-lap Superpole Race and the 18-lap Race 2 in the afternoon, winning both by a wide margin. The win in Race 2 was the 350th for Ducati in World Superbike ever since the start of the championship back in 1988.

Team-mate Chaz Davies stepped onto the podium again today after disputing two gutsy and hard-fought races. After just missing out on third place in the morning’s Superpole Race, the 32-year-old from Wales scrapped with Rea and Haslam (Kawasaki) and Lowes (Yamaha) in the second race, and only a mistake at the start of the final lap denied him the chance of finishing second.

With nine wins to his name, Bautista remains firmly in control of the championship standings on 186 points, 39 more than Rea, while Davies is in seventh place on 56 points. The next World Superbike round will take place in a few days’ time on the Assen TT circuit, from 12 to 14 April.

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #19) – 1st / 1st
“It has been an extraordinary weekend for me. Winning three races here in Spain in front of my family, my friends and the Spanish fans was really great. In all three, I was able to make my own strategy, that is get a fast start and maintain my own pace. For sure the conditions in the three races were different, especially today in the Superpole Race which took place in the morning when it was very cold. Luckily it got a bit warmer for Race 2, but you could really feel the wind. Despite this, I was able to stay focussed, understand the situation on the track and push hard all the way. In the end we have won nine races out of nine and I’m so happy about that. The team has done an incredible job, we are on the right path and I’d like to thank Aruba, all Ducati and my team because the congratulations should also go to them.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #7) – 4th / 3rd
“It was a strong weekend for me, but I’m a bit disappointed about losing second place in Race 2. At the start of the last lap, I went in deep at Turn 1 and left the door open for Johnny, after which there wasn’t much chance of getting it back. At any rate, I was happy to back up yesterday’s result with another third position. It wasn’t easy in the wind, but we worked well this weekend to make big progress and I hope to build on that next weekend at Assen.”

Stefano Cecconi (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Team Principal)
“It was another perfect weekend for Álvaro, which makes us really happy, but we are just as satisfied by the fact that Chaz got back on the podium and that he is getting more and more accustomed to the new Panigale V4 R. We hope that he will continue this string of positive results in the next few races.”

Monday, 08 April 2019 09:35 Published in Rider and Team Releases


Round 3 of the Superbike World Championship begins well for Álvaro Bautista

The third World Superbike round of the season began well for Álvaro Bautista, who immediately proved to be right on the pace in his home race with the Ducati Panigale V4 R. In today’s two free practice sessions, the 34-year-old Spanish rider was the only man to get under the 1’50 mark when he set a lap time of 1’49.692 in the morning FP1, and he then shaved off a few hundredths of a second in the afternoon run to finish the day on top with a time of 1’49.607.

Team-mate Chaz Davies started the day well with fourth-quickest time in the first free practice session in 1’50.920. For the afternoon, the Welsh rider made a few small modifications to the bike to try and further improve on his time, but his effort came to nothing in the last few minutes when the rain began to fall. Chaz ended the first day of practice in ninth place overall.

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st - 1’49.607
“The weekend here at Aragón has begun really well because I immediately found the right feeling with the bike, like in the first two rounds of the season. My confidence level with the Panigale V4 R continues to grow rapidly and here on my home circuit it all seems even easier. Today we did a good job but we have to keep one eye on the uncertain weather conditions for the weekend. I’ve never lapped with this bike in the wet and so in case of rain I will have to get used to the conditions very quickly. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I’m very confident I can do a good qualifying run to start on the front row for race 1."

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 9th - 1’50.920
“This morning’s session was quite decent, but then I had a frustrating second session in the afternoon. We played around with the bike a little but it felt like it changed quite a lot, and I got a bit more comfortable with it at the end of the second session then three-quarters of the way round my fast lap I hit a wall of rain so had to abort. I felt we made a bit of progress with some of the vibration issues we’ve been having but it changed the bike quite a bit so there are pros and cons. With a good run I think we shouldn’t be in too bad a shape with race pace so we’ll try again tomorrow.”

Saturday, 06 April 2019 04:25 Published in Rider and Team Releases


***Spoiler Alert*** Thai WSBK Results

The second round of the Superbike World Championship, which took place this weekend at the Buriram circuit in Thailand, saw total domination by Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s Álvaro Bautista, who won both races today: The Superpole Race, shortened by four laps following an incident, and then Race 2.

The 34-year-old Spanish rider scored his sixth successive victory by clearly getting the better of Rea and Lowes in the Superpole Race, while in Race 2 he immediately broke away from the field, leaving his two rivals to fight it out for second, and then powered to the chequered flag with a ten-second advantage.

It was not such a positive Sunday for Chaz Davies, who finished eighth in the Superpole Race, while in Race 2 he was forced to retire due to a technical problem on his Panigale V4 R. Despite this setback, the 32-year-old from Wales showed good progress, especially today, which is a real confidence booster for the upcoming races.

With six wins to his name, Bautista is now leading the championship with 124 points, 26 more than Rea, while Davies lies in eleventh place with 18 points. The next World Superbike round will take place in three weeks’ time at the MotorLand Aragón circuit in Spain, from 5 to 7 April.

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st / 1st
“Three wins, three fastest laps and Superpole means that it has been a perfect weekend for me! We knew that it was going to be an important race because Kawasaki have won here so many times, but the whole team worked well with the bike over the weekend and it all came good. It wasn’t easy however because the Panigale V4 R is new everywhere we go and everything has to be discovered from scratch. Right from the beginning I had great confidence with the bike and only made small adjustments for the set-up we know. I just want to say thanks to my team and all the people in Ducati because they have done a fantastic job, I’m so happy! Now we have some time to rest before we go to my home race. I’m really looking forward to that and can’t wait to race at Aragón in front of my Spanish fans.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 8th / DNF
“I’m obviously disappointed not to have been able to finish the race and see the true potential that we had today especially after the progress we made this morning. Regarding the technical problem, after feeling something was a little bit amiss when I lost some speed, I decided to save the engine and think about the season ahead. It was disappointing not to capitalize on our improvement, because today I had a good race pace and the feeling with the bike was much better. We’ve got some clear ideas on the direction to take and there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Now we have the test at Aragon before the race, which is a good opportunity for us to make some more gains.”

Stefano Cecconi (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Team Principal)
“We are very happy to have brought home these fantastic results in the two overseas races, which for a number of reasons are very particular. Now we can’t wait to go to Aragón where we’ve got all the markers to be able to face up to our rivals and understand how everyone is shaping up. We’re happy for Álvaro but at the same time disappointed that Chaz had an unlucky weekend, even though the improvements seen during the races give us confidence that we are now going in the right direction.”

Marco Zambenedetti (Ducati Corse Track Technical Coordinator)
“We came to Buriram knowing full well that we were racing on a track without reference markers, both because of the layout and for the extreme climate, and to verify if all the work we did in Australia was a good starting-point. We were able to keep a high competitive level with Álvaro from the start of Friday, which means that the bike is already suitable for his riding style albeit on different tracks. As for Chaz we continued to work methodically and we could see the results during the weekend with a constant improvement on his part. Unfortunately, because of a technical problem in Race 2 he was unable to score a result that was within possible reach. We’ll continue to work hard and will try again at Aragón, certain that we have an increasingly competitive package for both riders.”

Sunday, 17 March 2019 18:39 Published in Rider and Team Releases


The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team on the starting blocks in Thailand for Round 2 of the Superbike World Championship

After rewriting history at Phillip Island, with a triumphant debut for Álvaro Bautista and the new Panigale V4 R, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be back in action this weekend at the Buriram circuit in Thailand for the second round of the Superbike World Championship scheduled for 15-17 March.

Due to its particular layout and the torrid heat present in south-east Asia, the Buriram track undoubtedly represents a tougher proving-ground for the two men in the Italian squad, Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies. For the Spanish rider it will however not be a brand-new circuit, as the 34-year-old already took part in the MotoGP race last October, when he finished in eighth place.

Team-mate Chaz Davies, following a difficult start to the season, has yet to express his true potential, but he is convinced he can make a major step forward by improving his performance on a track where he won last year.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be out on track on Friday morning at 10.30 local time (CET +6) for the first free practice session of the weekend.

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st (62 points)
“Australia was a dream weekend and I couldn’t have asked for a better start in World Superbike. In Thailand I got a good result last season in MotoGP, so I’m feeling confident but Buriram is a track that has different characteristics to Phillip Island because there are more mixed sectors. For sure our rivals will be tough to beat, so we have to remain focussed and work really hard during the weekend. Anyway we will go to Thailand with the same mentality, I know the right feeling with the bike now so I will try and find it there as well. The Panigale V4 R is still a completely new bike, and the potential is high but we’ve got a lot of work to do to get it to 100%. I don’t know if Buriram is a Ducati track or not, we’ll just have to see what happens.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 8th (15 points)
“The next race is Thailand, where I think we’ve probably got a bigger bank of information now so that’s something to work on. As for me, from a comfort point of view and understanding the bike, I’m going into Thailand knowing it much better than what I did when I turned up at Phillip Island, which is positive. We had a win and a third place last year which were good results so it shows we’ve got pace there, it’s just a matter of getting the bike in the ballpark. I’m looking forward to Thailand and I think that we can do a lot better than what we did in Australia as long as we can put the information to good use.”

The Chang International Circuit
Designed by the German architect Hermann Tilke, the Chang International Circuit opened its doors in 2014 and this year will be the fifth time the circuit hosts a round of the World SBK championship. Situated around 400 km north-east of the capital, Bangkok, the city of Buriram in the state of the same name, literally means the ‘city of happiness’, and its hot and humid climate is a typical characteristic of its South-East Asia location. The 4.554 km track incorporates 12 turns and its facilities can accommodate more than 100,000 people, with several grandstands around the circuit offering a virtually complete view for fans.

Circuit Record: Rea (Kawasaki) 1’32.814 (176.64 km/h) - 2018
Fastest Lap: Rea (Kawasaki) 1’33.436 (175.46 km/h) - 2017
Track Length: 4.554 km
Race Distance: 2 x 20 laps (91.081 km)
Corners: 12 (5 left, 7 right)

2018 Results
Race 1: 1. Rea (Kawasaki); 2. Fores (Ducati); 3. Davies (Ducati)
Race 2: 1. Davies (Ducati); 2. Van der Mark (Yamaha); 3. Lowes (Yamaha)

Chaz Davies
Bike: Ducati Panigale V4 R
Race Number: 7
Age: 32 (born on 10 February 1987 in Knighton, Great Britain)
SBK Races: 178
First SBK Race: 2012 Imola
Wins: 29
First Win: 2012 Nürburgring
Pole Positions: 6
First Pole: 2015 Laguna Seca
World Titles: 1 (2011 Supersport)

Álvaro Bautista
Bike: Ducati Panigale V4 R
Race Number: 19
Age: 34 (born on 21 November 1984 in Talavera de la Reina, Spain)
SBK Races: 2
First SBK Race: 2019 Phillip Island
Wins: 2
First Win: 2019 Phillip Island
Pole Positions: -
First Pole: -
World Titles: 1 (2006 125cc)

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 16:29 Published in Rider and Team Releases


Sensational double debut win for Álvaro Bautista and the Panigale V4 R at Phillip Island

Making his debut in the Superbike World Championship for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, Álvaro Bautista today achieved a truly extraordinary feat by winning the opening round of the 2019 season with the new Ducati Panigale V4 R. The last time a rookie rider won on his debut was in 2007 and what makes the 34-year-old Spanish rider's win even more remarkable is the fact that it was also the very first race for the bike. Starting from third on the grid after the Superpole, Bautista took control of the race on the opening lap, increased his lead every time around and took the chequered flag almost 15 seconds ahead of Jonathan Rea.

Team-mate Chaz Davies was in a bit of difficulty during the 22-lap race, the Welshman never being able to attack, also due to excessive rear tyre wear, which especially in the final stages forced him to slow his pace and he eventually finished in tenth place.

Tomorrow will see the other two SBK races on the schedule for this first round of the championship; the ten-lap Superpole Race at 12:00 (02:00 CET) and Race 2 at 15:00 (05:00 CET).

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st
“This victory has given me such incredible satisfaction and I’m really happy to have won my first World Superbike race! For sure we worked well throughout the winter months and this allowed us to prepare a competitive bike for the first round. Today I wasn’t able to set the pole because I still have to understand how the qualifying tyres work, as they are completely new for me. In the race however I was really confident because I knew I had an excellent pace, and my strategy was to take the lead as soon as possible and then keep a consistent pace. I could see that the gap was increasing lap after lap, even though I was trying to manage the tyre wear, especially towards the end of the race. I’m really happy and I’d like to thank Ducati, Aruba and the guys in my team, now we’ll see if we can keep this up.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 10th
“For me it was rather a disappointing race. Initially I was quite happy and after a good start I more or less maintained the pace with a decent group. Then I suddenly had such a massive drop of rear grip, so much so that I felt like I was riding in sand: we’ll have to look at the data to figure out why it was like that. I know how to manage a race at Phillip Island and I felt like I was relatively conservative for most of the race, but I hit trouble at two-thirds race distance and wasn’t expecting it. It shows we are inexperienced with this new bike; I had a pace that I thought could see us into the top 6 but that wasn’t the case today.”

Marco Zambenedetti (Ducati Corse Track Technical Coordinator)
“Today for sure we did a great job! We are seeing the results of everything we’ve done in the last few years and the fact that we believed in a new project that represents a historic turning-point for Ducati. We knew we could be competitive and we knew we had the technology and the working method to succeed. Álvaro has given us such enormous satisfaction by taking the V4 R to victory, and even though he is a very experienced rider, he is still a rookie in this category. Tomorrow we’ll try and also get Chaz into a condition where he can express his true potential, because we’re convinced that he can. We’ve still got a lot of work to do because despite this first win we’re only just at the beginning.”

Saturday, 23 February 2019 09:52 Published in Rider and Team Releases