The two Aruba.it Racing – Ducati riders took part in today’s opening free practice sessions for the eighth round of the Superbike World Championship at the Donington Park circuit; points leader Álvaro Bautista was sixth quickest with team-mate Chaz Davies ending the day in ninth.
Bautista, who took to the track for the first time here on a Superbike, set eleventh quickest time this morning, preferring to get to grips with the undulating Donington track. In the afternoon, the 34-year-old from Talavera de la Reina took a fair chunk off his earlier time, ending the day in provisional sixth place.
With some difficulty, Chaz Davies concluded the morning session in twelfth place. In the afternoon, despite improving his time by almost one second, the Welshman was ninth quickest in a tight provisional classification that sees the top 13 riders separated by just under nine-tenths of a second.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19) – 1’28.005 (6th)
“For sure the memories I had with this track were much different, and with the Superbike it seems that all the track is narrower and there is not a lot of space to make a mistake. In any case I’m quite happy because in the morning I spent some time trying to understand the track better, gaining some reference markers with my Panigale V4 R and in the end it wasn’t too bad. Then in the afternoon we made a few modifications to improve the set-up because earlier I had struggled to make the bike turn well. We found something that gives me a good feeling and I improved our lap time and our pace. There is still margin to improve but it was a good first day.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 1’28.414 (9th)
“It was quite a good start, we made progress from the morning to the afternoon and I improved my lap time by almost one second. We are still clearly missing something in the feeling with the bike, but we are not as far behind with the race pace as the position looks in the standings. Donington is quite a different track to the previous one at Misano, but we seem to be suffering from similar problems in the same areas. For the moment we are about on par with expectations but hopefully we’ll improve tomorrow.”