Melandri: "Aragon is a track that I really enjoy"

Thursday, 12 April 2018 14:31 GMT Racing – Ducati returns to Europe ready for a title challenge, while the Junior Team makes its WorldSBK debut

Excitement is running high at the Racing- Ducati team – and with good reason. The team has picked up three of the four wins this season, with Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) adding a win at the Thai Round to the superb double Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati) gathered at Phillip Island. 
The Italian will be looking to put a disappointing weekend in Thailand behind him (with 7th and 8th place finishes) and recover his form from Australia, where Melandri proved he’s ready to fight for the title. Melandri won the very first WorldSBK MotorLand Aragon race back in 2011, and picked up a second win the following year – while last year he returned to the top with consecutive podium finishes.
Melandri will be looking to return to the top of the standings this weekend: "Aragon is a track that I really enjoy and I had good results there in several occasions in the past. I'm happy to start the European leg of the championship from there. Despite the difficulties on the straight we encountered in Thailand, I feel in great shape and I'm confident I can be fast. I believe we can fix the issues that limited us and challenge for the win or at least the podium once again. Weather could also come into play this weekend, so we'll see”.
Davies, meanwhile, returns to a track he should be very keen on – six wins here for the Welshman is a MotorLand Aragon and personal WorldSBK record. On top of this, the Welshman’s arrival comes off two podium finishes in Thailand, the second a fantastic victory rising from seventh off the grid. 
Just 12 points off the lead, Davies is ready for the race: "I'm excited going into Round 3. We've put in the work and I feel good on the bike. The win in Thailand was really important and it gives me a lot of confidence, because it's always been a tough track for us. On the other hand, I had a lot of good races at Aragon: first podium, first double and first W with the Panigale R. That said, I'll take it as any other race. It's been close there in the past, and I expect many riders challenging for the win. The racing has been pretty even this year, and on track I haven't seen big differences between the bikes. I'm ready for the battle”.
MotorLand Aragon will also see the WorldSBK debut of reigning STK1000 champion Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Junior Team). Racing with the Panigale R for the first time, Rinaldi seems excited at the opportunity: "I'm really happy and ready to make my WorldSBK debut. We worked hard to begin in the best possible shape, and I'm really keen on finally racing. We'll obviously do our best, knowing there's still a lot to learn. In the tests, we consistently improved the base setup and the feeling with the bike and the team. We just have to get out on track and find out where we're at”.
Watch the Racing – Ducati and Racing – Junior Team riders bring the fight to MotorLand Aragon from April 13th-15th, directly on the WorldSBK VideoPass.