Podiums and crashes the story in Thailand
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) ended his first weekend at the remarkable Chang International Circuit on the podium for the second time of the season, after narrowly missing out on the trophy in Race One.
Pipped to the line by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) in Saturday’s race, the returning Italian then started from pole position for Race two under the grid reshuffling rules for 2017. However a red flag and restarted race meant that Melandri secured another front row start, and was up and battling with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) for the lead. In the early stages the 34 year old was able to stay up with Rea, but began to fade mid-way through the race.
Caught by Sykes on the final lap for the second time this weekend, Melandri was a little frustrated but happy to make an appearance on the podium: “It was a great weekend because the conditions were so difficult for me and I’ve never been here before; and to be close to the top guys is always a good feeling. To have the same end to each race, to be passed in the last corner is not very nice. But I have struggled with the brakes since the first practise, so for me it was hard to be more aggressive with Tom on the last lap. The team make a good job, we need to work to catch the Kawasaki guys but I hope Aragon will be a different story.”
On the other side of the garage, team-mate Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) had a very difficult Sunday following his podium finish in Race One.
The British rider suffered a small low side in the first race at turn three; however he was able to rejoin which meant he qualified for the race start following a red flag. Fighting through the field in the restarted race, he was suffering from some issues caused by the crash, meaning he salvaged a top six finish in the Asian heat.
Despite a tough day, Davies is positive and looks ahead to MotorLand Aragon for Round three: “Honestly I think we should have been closer to the podium in the restart. We had an issue due to some of the parts that were changed, which needed to be from a safely point of view. They had to replace the throttle tube, so there was a problem with the calibration of the throttle, which disturbs basically everything. As soon as I got out of the first corner on the second lap, I knew it was going to be a long race. I opened the throttle and nothing would happen; so top six is salvage but it’s a knock on consequence from the crash. It would have been nice to have a normal bike for the restart as like I said, but we need to keep working, as our rivals will be strong, which we expected, but we know we can push around Aragon.”