Ducati duo look forward to the unpredictable Pirelli French Round
2016 was a strong weekend for Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in France, and the British rider hopes 2017 will be no different as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads to the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for Round 11. Alongside Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), the pair are apprehensive with regards to the weather but are looking forward to seeing what the Pirelli French Round has in store.
British rider Davies, who took a stunning double victory around the 4.4km circuit last season, understands his Panigale R has strengths around the circuit, but so do his rivals. However he is hoping to bring some improvements forward from the last round in Portugal, and will put in plenty of time off the track to understand how he can get the most out of his Ducati on the track.
Davies explains: “Last year we were fast at Magny Cours, but most of all we played two smart races. We gambled on intermediate tyres for Race 1 and it paid off, then we simply looked after our tyres well in Race 2. At the end of two very different races, we came out on top. The track is quite good for our package, but that also applies to our main rivals. In the last round we struggled a bit, but we understood why and I expect us to be much closer in France and put up a fight. The weather is always a point of contention there, and it’s quite unpredictable: we had a bit of everything in the past, from summer days to freezing cold, so there’s no real way to prepare for it. We’ll just do our homework and try get the job done on track.”
Italy’s 100th WorldSBK winner Marco Melandri makes his return to the French circuit, which he has won around in the past. However with a lack of wet track time onboard the Panigale R machine, he will be hoping for dry weather in France. Hopeful he can secure some strong set-up options, Melandri is keen to get out on track at Magny-Cours to continue his consistent pace this season.
“Magny Cours is a diverse track,” begins Melandri. “With very different sections and, in general, a really interesting layout. There a couple of hard-braking areas, as well as some flowing segments, so it’s never easy to find a good compromise with the setup. If anything, the tarmac should be less bumpy than in the last couple of rounds. The weather usually plays a key role in Magny Cours, and I hope we race in dry conditions because, even if I won in the rain there in the past, the grip is really low on a wet track. Also, I barely did any laps in the wet with the Panigale R. Surely, if it rains, there will be virtually no room for mistakes, but we’re confident and ready to play our best cards from now until the end of the season.”
Follow how the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team progress around the technical French circuit with the WorldSBK VideoPass, where you can follow sessions from Friday 28th – Sunday 1st October.