Brand new podium experience adorned with red in Qatar
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) had a strong day in the office on Friday at the Acerbis Qatar Round, as the duo secured a podium finish in front of the floodlights and were able to enjoy the new podium for the first time ever.
Despite a tough Superpole session in the early afternoon at Qatar, Davies started from eighth position on the grid and had a tough challenge ahead of him for the 17 lap race. Getting a strong start to the race, he was soon up and into the podium battle however faced a difficult race. Feeling uncomfortable with the front end of his Panigale, the British rider was able to put in a tough fight and managed his Pirelli tyres well to cross the line in second position.
Not only did he secure another podium finish, but he now sits in second position in the world championship standings with one race remaining. Happy with the result, Davies explains: “I’m pretty happy with that to be honest, we’ve been relatively nowhere all weekend, I think in general pace we’ve been ok and nothing special. In the race we made the best of what we had, I’m happy with the position and happy with the points over Tom, pretty unhappy with how things felt, it’s one of those races where it felt like I was managing issues from the second corner to the chequered flag.”
Joining his team-mate on the podium, Marco Melandri was able to secure a podium finish upon his return to the circuit with the WorldSBK paddock, and the Italian was happy to make the best out of a tough weekend. Fighting for the podium at the front, once he saw rival Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) crash out, he chose to take it steady and was able to secure a podium finish with his Panigale.
Crossing the line 10 seconds behind race winner Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), Melandri was happy with the result he secured: “It’s been a tough weekend until Superpole, we had a lot of issues and we struggled to find a good set up on the bike. The team put in some awesome work we found a better set up for the race and the feeling was much better. Even if it wasn’t the best I could ride almost close to my limit, the first part of the race was ok but then I was struggling too much with the front. When Lowes went down I preferred to slow down, and I think it was the best result I could have got today so I am happy.”
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