Chaz Davies crossed the line in fourth place, before concluding race two in eighth position.
Sepang (Malaysia) – A strong performance by Chaz Davies and the Ducati Superbike Team in today’s first Superbike race at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia; the British rider crossed the line in fourth place, before concluding race two in eighth position; Davide Giugliano finished the two races eighth and tenth.
Race 1 – Today’s races were played out in very hot conditions (air temperature 32°C, track 52°C) and high levels of humidity. Starting from eighth on the grid, Davies was quickly able to make up a number of positions and was lapping fourth through the opening stages. He battled with Elias and got past him on lap six to move up into third position. In the final laps, a drop in grip prevented Chaz from defending his position as he would have wanted and he was passed by Laverty. The Ducati man then continued to fight it out to the wire with Elias, ultimately crossing the line ahead of the Spaniard to earn a very worthy fourth place finish.
For Giugliano it was a more frenetic race, and not helped by the fact that he felt unwell last night and awoke this morning with a fever. A collision at the second corner caused several riders to crash in front of Davide and the Italian rider had to almost stop in order to avoid suffering the same fate, falling back to fourteenth position as a result. Pushing hard to recover, Davide was able to pass several riders over the next two laps and was already up into seventh by lap three. Fighting with Haslam, Giugliano passed the British rider on lap seven only to be repassed soon after. The Italian gave it his all to the line but, losing ground in the final stages due to a lack of grip, he had to settle for final eighth position.
Race 2 – Temperatures had further increased for the second race, with the track up to 59°C. The two Ducati Superbike riders got off to a fairly good start and were lying sixth (Giugliano) and eighth (Davies) when, on lap four, Race Direction stopped the race with a red flag after another rider's bike left oil on track. A ‘quick restart’ and the race, shortened to just 10 laps, got underway.
This time Davide positioned eighth after the opening lap, followed by Chaz, tenth. Both riders were able to pass Haslam early on and towards mid-race they both battled with Laverty but, losing ground in the closing stages, with a more dramatic drop in grip than in race one, the Ducati men closed the race in final eighth (Davies) and tenth (Giugliano) position.
After six of fourteen scheduled rounds, Davies is in sixth position in the general standings, with 130 points, with Giugliano right behind him in seventh place (96 points). Ducati lies fourth in the manufacturer’s classification with 158 points.
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7 – 4th, 8th): “The races today were about as tough as we’d expected really. The main problem was a lack of side grip but then that also exaggerates other things as a result, for example the electronics are not so smooth when the edge grip is so low. The feeling was fairly similar in both races, perhaps a small improvement in race 2 after we made some changes, but we need to get on top of the side grip problem in order to be able to accelerate better off the turns. I was fairly happy with the race 1 result. Anyway, I felt that I did all I could here and we’ll continue to work to resolve the grip issues.”
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34 – 8th, 10th): “It’s a pity about race 1 as it’s not the first time Baz has done something like this and this time more than one rider fell and I lost many positions in trying to avoid the collision. I tried to accelerate as much as possible after that and was able to get by several of the fast guys but after a certain point there was no more grip. The second race didn’t go well. We got away ok in the restarted race but a drop in grip after only three laps prevented me from riding as I wanted to. A difficult day all in all but I can say that in these conditions, and considering that the flu has left me feeling pretty weak, it was already a result to finish both races. I don’t like eighth and tenth but just this once I will settle for these results.”
Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director: “Considering that this track is not so favourable for us, the results achieved here today are not so bad. Chaz just missed out on the podium in race one. A real pity for Davide, because a fever and weakness due to flu surely didn’t help matters in what were already extreme conditions. But thanks to his determination and the Clinica Mobile’s help, he was able to complete both races. Rear grip, especially in race 2 in which temperatures were higher, has been our main problem this weekend. We will therefore need to look at the data to try to understand how we can improve when it is this hot. So our work continues and we will now prepare for Misano as best we can.”