Marco Melandri got his hands on the Aruba Ducati World Superbike he will campaign in next year’s championship for the first time at a Misano test which ended today.
The mercurial Italian, who replaces Davide Giugliano, spent three days at the circuit with Chaz Davies and the outgoing Roman and says he was impressed with the front-end of the Panigale and that it suits his riding style.
“It was a very emotional moment for me to return to the track on a Superbike. We worked methodically, progressively getting back in the groove and trying first of all to find the right position on the bike. Then, we tested different chassis and electronics configurations to understand how the bike reacts,” said Melandri.
“I was really impressed by the precision of the front, which is crucial for my riding style. Even without paying much attention to the lap times, we were faster than our expectations. Now I’ll focus on my training program ahead of the next tests.”
Unsurprisingly, no laptimes were forthcoming but Giugliano ended on a 1’34.9 while Davies was three tenths faster after suffering a muscle strain on day one and ending his programme at lunchtime today after having yesterday off.
"We started off in the right direction on Monday, lapping immediately faster than during the race, but then I felt a muscle strain and I preferred to consult the medical staff at the track, which was very kind and helpful, before stepping back on the bike,” said the Welshman.
“Thankfully it was not a serious issue, I recovered quickly and today we were able to try some important things and collect data. Our base has improved compared with the last few rounds, I’m happier and more confident so I look forward to get back to racing.”