Chaz Davies couldn't have dreamed of a better return to the track. After the break, the Ducati rider scores the win in race 1 at the Eurospeedway, taking the lead ahead of Kawasaki world champ Jonathan Rea having started from row two. He maintained a constant pace for the duration of the race, which allowed him to clock up his 5th win of the season.
It wasn't as easy as it sounds though: during the sighting lap, problems with the #7 Panigale risked sending Ducati's plans up in smoke. Chaz himself explains what happened: "The sighting lap was pandemonium, I nearly high-sided going into the last corner because of an issue with the rear brake. That made for a few tense minutes on the grid, because usually you can’t fix something like that in such a short time, but I have a good crew and they fixed to almost entirely, so it was good enough to allow me to do what I needed to do."
He then goes on to analyse the race: "I got a great start and found myself in a good position in the early laps. Once I took the lead, I just tried to set my pace without looking at the lap times and we came out on top. The rhythm was good, but there is still room for improvement ahead of Race 2. We’ll start from 9th position but I think this track offers opportunities for overtaking and we’ve worked on our starts recently, finding more consistency, so I’m in for another interesting race.”
A different wind is blowing in Marco Melandri's camp. The Italian battled with the Eurospeedway's potholes, unable to control his bike especially due to the rear tyre which deteriorated after only a few laps: "It wasn’t an easy race for us. In the first few laps we managed to stay within the leading group, but as the rear tyre dropped our bike started to wobble too much over the bumps and I was forced to ease off the throttle, losing contact with the riders ahead of me."
A problem that could have had more serious consequences: "At first, I tried to compensate by braking later to make up for it but, the harder I pushed, the more mistakes I made, and I almost lost the front a couple of times. Our pace was in the high 1:37 mark today, we couldn’t do more and it wouldn’t have been smart to take more risks. Tomorrow we’ll try some setup modifications during WUP. The goal is to stay with our rivals for the whole race.”