Testing season for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad
Securing MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship veteran Marco Melandri to join Chaz Davies for the 2017 season, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati were searching for a strong season with the Panigale, as they looked to bring the fight to Jonathan Rea and his Kawasaki Racing Team squad.
Following a stunning end to the 2016, as Davies won seven out of the final eight races, there were a lot of eyes on the Aruba squad heading into the 2017 season. Exiting pit lane with a strong package at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Davies was able to bring the fight to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) in a stunning display of racing action, but narrowly missed out on the victory. Having to wait until the series hit Europe until Ducati could get the taste of victory, Davies took his first victory of the season in Northern Spain whilst Melandri collected his fourth and fifth podium finishes of 2017.
Heartbreak met Davies in race one at TT Circuit Assen, as a bike problem forced him to withdraw from the battle for the lead, whilst Melandri took another podium finish. Race two saw the British rider bounce back to take a podium finish ahead of the much anticipated Imola Round. Competing in front of the Ducatisti in Italy for Round Five, Davies and Imola continue to be a match made in heaven and he had a dream weekend – taking the double win in front of his adoring fans.
Glory revisited the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team as the series returned to Italy following a tough round in the UK, but this time it was for Marco Melandri as he took a stunning victory as well as Italy’s 100th WorldSBK victory. However it was a difficult round for Davies, who was forced to sit out of Sunday’s Race Two after a horror crash with Rea in race one let him unfit for Sunday’s race.
Bouncing back around Laguna Seca, Davies took the race one victory and honoured the late Nicky Hayden on his victory lap. Dominating around the Lausitzring in August, Davies took the double victory after the summer break and was joined by Melandri on the podium in race two. Taking second and third position in race one at Portimao, the British rider had a tough race two but Melandri took the podium finish in race two.
Heading into the final three rounds of the season, Davies took his final victory of the season in race two at Magny-Cours but was ever present on the podium as he began to hunt down second position in the world championship standings. Securing the runner up spot under the floodlights in Qatar, Davies was happy to take the result following a tough end to 2017.
Melandri was able to secure three podium finishes in the final three rounds, ending the world championship in the top four following a consistent return to the series.
Relive all of Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s glory in 2017 with the WorldSBK VideoPass.