Ducati unveils 2017 WSBK bike

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Ducati unveils 2017 WSBK bike
David Gruz
By: David Gruz
Feb 8, 2017, 11:05 AM

Italian marque Ducati has revealed its bike for the 2017 World Superbike season, which will be ridden by Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri.

Chaz David and Marco Melandri, Ducati Team
Marco Melandri, Ducati Team
Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, Ducati Team
Marco Melandri, Ducati Team
Bikes of Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, Ducati Team
Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, Ducati Team

Ducati and Davies have stood as the main challengers to Kawasaki and its team leader Jonathan Rea over the past two years.

The Welshman, who has 16 WSBK wins with the Italian marque, was runner-up to Rea in 2015 and finished a close third to Tom Sykes last year.

At the team's launch event, Davies said of the new Panigale R: "The bike seems to be the same but the team in Bologna worked a lot this winter to improve the bike.

"For me 2016 was an important season and 2017 will be another important year to keep winning. I had a lot of success last year but it's important to keep the good job and have strong results this year as well.

"I have won 16 times with the Panigale R and every time, in every race the bike is getting better and I think it will keep being like this so we can beat Kawasaki and win the championship."

Davies will be joined by MotoGP race winner Marco Melandri, who replaces Davide Giugliano within the team.

Melandri amassed plenty of success during his four years in WSBK between 2011 and 2014, scoring 19 wins and consistently placing in the top four overall.

"I had a lot wins in WSBK but I also lost a lot of championships. The time has come to reach our main goals, we have to bring forward this important Italian brand, this is my dream," said Melandri.

"It will be difficult to beat Chaz but we will do our best to improve and reach our common goals."

Ducati showed promising pace in pre-season testing, going quickest in Portimao - albeit with Kawasaki absent.

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