Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies completing the first two timed practice sessions of the weekend.
Sepang (Malaysia) – The Ducati Superbike Team got down to work today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, with factory riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies completing the first two timed practice sessions of the weekend in very hot conditions but with positive results, to conclude in fourth and seventh position respectively.
This morning’s first timed practice was an extended session of 75 minutes in order to give riders the chance to better familiarise themselves with the track. Conditions were typically hot and humid from early on in the day, with a track temperature of 42°C and an air temperature of 32°C. For Giugliano, out on the Sepang track for the very first time, the day got off to a positive start; despite the difficult conditions, he was able to record the fifth fastest time of the session, with a best of 2’05.926. Davies, who already has good track knowledge, having raced here on several occasions when he participated in the 250 and 125 World Championships, was quickly up to speed and closed with an almost identical time to his teammate, 2’05.964, to place sixth.
In the afternoon’s session, and with an elevated track temperature of 55°C, both Ducati Superbike riders continued to work to adapt their 1199 Panigale bikes to the hot track. Both were able to improve on the morning’s lap times, despite a lack of grip caused by the high temperatures. Davide lowered his time by seventh tenths to record a best of 2’05.278, to position fourth at the end of the day, followed by Chaz, seventh, who also improved by half a second to register a fastest time of 2’05.448.
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 4th (2’05.278): “It’s a great track, very technical and then there are some very particular sections that you don’t see at other tracks. It’s a pity about the bumps that the F1 cars have left on the surface though! Today has gone pretty well, though we’re having some problems with consistency, in that we’re fast through the first laps but then there’s a dramatic drop in grip, something we see every time that the asphalt is very hot. In the afternoon we improved a little and will continue to work on this tomorrow. Physically it’s quite difficult, it’s the first time I’m riding in these conditions and it’s hard to breathe with the helmet, suit etc. I guess it just takes time to get used to, but anyway I think we can be pleased with our work today – I hadn’t been on this track before, neither had the team, so we should be satisfied with the progress made.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 7th (2’05.448): “I’m reasonably happy with the bike. The biggest problem is that as soon as there is a drop in grip, I lose stability, the bike becomes nervous, so that’s something to work on tomorrow as I feel I am having to tiptoe around the track after only a few laps. We definitely need to improve things as far as grip is concerned after about the five-lap mark. The grip level didn’t seem to change a lot this afternoon, despite the fact that temperatures were higher, it all seemed fairly similar. Fortunately I’m feeling ok physically speaking, I’ve been able to deal with that side of things fairly well. So all in all today went fairly well but there’s more to do tomorrow of course.”