From a Ducati press release:
A fantastic start for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team today at Phillip Island, with Chaz Davies scoring two third place finishes in these opening races of the 2015 Superbike World Championship season.
Race 1 – Today’s races took place in hot conditions with track temperatures of 42°C for race one. Davies, from second on the grid, was lying third through the opening stages, right behind Haslam and Rea. This British trio battled it out for the podium positions for the entire duration of the race, passing and re-passing each other in what was a spectacular opening race. Welshman Chaz pushed hard all the way to the line but, struggling to find acceleration through the turns in the final laps, he was unable to get ahead of his rivals, crossing the line in third position. This is an important result both for the team, that opens the season in a positive way, and the rider, who steps up to the Phillip Island podium for the first time in his career.
Bayliss, twelfth on the grid, got away well and was up into seventh place by the second lap. The Australian rider battled with various riders throughout the race, Torres, Guintoli and Sykes included. Unfortunately tyre performance dropped off significantly in the later stages of the race and Troy gradually lost ground as a result. The three-times world champion crossed the line in final thirteenth position.
Race 2 – In race 2, and in very similar conditions, Davies made a strong start, and was up in second by the end of lap one, together with Rea and Haslam, as in race one. On lap two his pace was such as to record the best lap of the race (1’31.725). The Ducati rider was lapping in third/fourth position for a good part of the race and, able to manage the tyre situation effectively, he even took the race lead at one point in the final stages. A fantastic battle to the line ensued, and saw Chaz finish once more on the third step of the podium, earning himself more important points for the championship.
Bayliss made up several positions in the initial stages and was lying eighth through the opening laps. Similarly to race one, he started to suffer from significant tyre wear towards the mid-race point with the situation becoming serious enough for him to return to the garage on lap thirteen for a tyre change. Returning to the track in eighteenth place, he could only do so much in the limited time remaining, finishing his race in sixteenth place.
At the end of the opening round of the 2015 Superbike World Championship, Davies lies third with 32 points, and Troy Bayliss takes 3 points to place nineteenth. In the manufacturer’s championship, Ducati positions third with a total of 32 points.
The next appointment for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team will be Round 2 of the championship, taking place at the Chang International circuit in Buriram, Thailand over the weekend of 20-22 March.
Quotes after the races:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 3rd, 3rd
“I’m finally on the podium at Phillip Island, and twice over – having tried every year to get here, I’ve finally done it. I would have liked to be able to do something more but it wasn’t possible, I was just missing a little more drive in the final laps and tried to conserve the tyres as well as I could. I personally have always started the championship a little badly and so this result is extremely important. It confirms that we are starting at a different level with respect to last year, and I was able to stick there with Rea fairly comfortably. We’re worked hard this weekend, concentrated on race distance, and it seems to have paid off. I thank my whole team but also all of the technicians back at Borgo Panigale for their hard work over the winter. The results obtained here are a good base on which to build.”
Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #21) – 13th, 16th
“I’m feeling a real mix of emotions at the end of the weekend. I came here to have fun, and for the fans and the Phillip Island circuit. I thought that maybe I wouldn’t have the pace to be able to run with these guys anymore but instead I’ve seen that I can still be fast and, if it hadn’t been for the tyre issue, I think I could have done a lot more. So I don’t know, it’s a pity I didn’t have more time on track, and I didn’t have time to train properly ahead of the event of course, but all in all it’s been a really fun weekend, and in many ways it feels like nothing has changed since 2008. I thank Ducati for giving me the opportunity and also all of the fans and ducatisti for their continued support.”
Stefano Cecconi – Team Principal
“I think we can say that the Superbike season has got off to a great start for us here. Chaz was fantastic in both Superpole and today’s races, and his results here demonstrate that all of the work done over the winter is taking us in the right direction. Particular thanks go to Troy, for what he has done – he’s definitely lived up to reputation as a legend. Our thoughts go to Davide of course, and we hope he can be back on the bike as soon as possible.”