Firstly, we have to congratulate Michael Rinaldi for his spectacular first win within WorldSBK. The young rider has been honing his skills in recent clashes, often finishing just a fraction of a second off the leading group, but not this time… The first race of the weekend saw some fantastic artistry as the young Italian rider, who opened up the potential of his Panigale to pass championship leader Rea on the opening lap. There was jubilation in the home camp as he was waved through the finish line a full 5 seconds ahead. Well done you!
Our boys in red, riding for FAI sponsored Aruba.it, had a series of extreme highs and lows during round 5 held at the Motorland circuit. Multiple podium positions mixed with a couple of crashes made for a mix of emotions for the riders and loyal supporters.
Having secured 3rd in Saturday’s Superpole, Scott Redding was primed for a good start in race 1. He got off the line well and holding second the first turn. By lap 7 he had slipped to 3rd with Bautista close on his heels. Unfortunately, lap 8 saw Redding lose the front end and crash out of proceedings.
"It was a very difficult race because since the first laps the feeling with the front was negative…. My goal is to continue to fight for the championship and I will certainly not give up now after the great work we have done so far. It is clear, however, that we will have to make great improvements to try to recover the disadvantage". Scott Redding
Chaz started 8th on the grid but despite this disadvantage, he makes blinding progress in climbing the leader board. Finally catching up with Bautista just three laps before the end of the race, the Welshman takes his chance the snatch a podium from his ex-teammate.
"Getting on the podium is always nice… I chose to race with the soft tire (X) but I had to manage from the first laps to finish the race with a good pace unlike Rinaldi, who has a different weight and could push to the maximum. Anyway, I congratulate him for his extraordinary victory". Chaz Davies
Tables were turned in race two with Chaz doing well up until final 6 laps where he suffers a similar issue as Scott as he loses control of the front end, signalling an end to his hopes of a race placement.
“ I can't understand the reasons of the grip problems we had since the start of Race-2: maybe the higher temperature affected, maybe the "0" tire didn't work at its best. We will have to understand what happened. It is very frustrating to close the weekend with a crash". Chaz Davies
Redding dominated the Sunday’s Superpole giving him prime position for race two. The British rider holds back the competition for 7 laps where then a battle ensues between Rea, Rinaldi and himself. The result is a gradual but large gap opening between them and the third step on the podium for Redding.
"I tried to race with soft rubber but it was not a good choice because since mid-race I had grip problems… It is clear that we will have to improve but we will not give up and we will continue to work intensively with the team and all the Ducati Corse guys". Scott Redding
With just three rounds left, the competition will be heating up. We can’t wait!