Donington WorldSBK: Ducati riders in despair
From early in the Donington WorldSBK weekend it was obvious the Ducati teams were in some degree of trouble, and that trouble reached boiling point for the first race.
In qualifying the best Ducati rider had been Chaz Davies in ninth, one place behind privateer Kawasaki rider Toprak Razgatlioglu, and one place ahead of BSB wildcard rider Bradley Ray. A crash in FP3 did not help Davies’ cause.
“We just had a difficult race,” said Davies about race one on Saturday, in which he finished eighth only because Razgatlioglu and Leon Haslam clashed, and Davies went through the gap with thanks.
“I never got the feeling I expect from this bike, struggling a little bit and then that race was one of the most difficult races I have had for a long time,” said Davies. “I was expecting the bike to be better during that race than what it was. Even compared to this morning’s session. Last year we were OK, we were not the fastest, but we were podium contenders.
“Right now we are struggling to crack the top ten. Things have changed pretty quickly for us. After the crash my ankle stiffened up but I thought it was going to be worse than it actually was in the race.”
Marco Melandri crashed out and restarted for 22nd place, which summed up his unhappy weekend to that point.
“It has been a very difficult weekend for us, even in the wet of day one,” said Melandri. “We do not understand why but the bike is very difficult here, it is hard to stop the bike and it is very unstable. It was so difficult for me to pass Chaz so I was staying close to him and I just lost the front.
“We have too many problems, but I though the bike would be working good here. We struggled so much with the gearbox. To many things you would like to improve so we would like to find what is better to try to fix.”
With Barni Racing privateer Xavi Fores also scoring no points, it was a disaster for the Ducati teams on Saturday.
It was all the more difficult for Davies to take because the team do not know why things have not been better, “Honestly, I entered the race with more confidence than the results appeared,” said Davies.
“I thought I could have maybe had a sniff of the podium, but I realised really, really soon in the race that we did not have any grip and the bike was not particularly stable at the same time either.
“I just sort of tried to figure out how to get the best out of it and to get the best out of it meant going slower to go faster, and keeping the bike smooth. The bike is quite different to Imola but the issues are some similar but it is a different rack so some characteristics are not the same.”
Davies was on course for a tenth place, until two team-mates for the weekend clashed and one crashed in front of him.
“That was the best thing about the race, I think, a little gift on the last lap. I did not see what happened.”