WSBK » Racing Ducati unwrap 2017 challenger

Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri helped reveal the Racing Ducati Panigale R ahead of the 2017 World Superbike championship.

WSBK » Racing Ducati unwrap 2017 challenger

CHAZ Davies and Marco Melandri helped reveal the Racing Ducati Panigale R ahead of the 2017 World Superbike championship at Aruba's HQ in Italy. 

The factory Ducati squad heads into the new season with strong momentum after Davies stormed to seven wins from the final eight races in 2016 to strike back against the recent Kawasaki domination and have looked strong contenders during pre-season testing. 

Davies will be joined by experienced hand Marco Melandri at the Racing Ducati squad this season with the Italian making his racing comeback after a frustrating end to his time in MotoGP with Aprilia in 2015. 

Aruba has renewed its partnership as title sponsors for the factory Ducati squad as the Italian manufacturer targets its first World Superbike title since Carlos Checa claimed the 2011 crown. 

Davies is targeting the 2017 World Superbike crown and has been impressed by the level of development achieved over the winter when comparing his Panigale R from the recent pre-season tests compared to the 2016 version. 

"The bike looks the same but the team in Bologna has worked so hard this winter to improve the bike," Davies said. "For me it is a very important season. I want to keep winning, I won a lot last year but this is a new year, the important thing is to keep the good job and work going for this season. 

"The bike certainly feels like my own now having won so much with the Panigale R, 16 race wins, and every year the bike gets better and better. 

"I feel at one with my bike and I think it will keep being like this. That is very important to aim win against Kawasaki and win the championship.

New signing Melandri has been thrilled with how quickly he has integrated into the team and feels he and the factory squad have come together at 'the right moment'. 

"The project is fantastic so far and the main features of the Panigale R were wonderful for me," Melandri said. "I found a very prepared and professional team and this gave me a great stride to start this year. I have a huge motivation, more than ever. 

"I had a lot of wins but I also lost some championships so the time has come to reach our main goals, to bring forward an important Italian brand with titles. This is my dream and I want to share it with you. 

"I think when you miss racing and you haven't got anything then you realise how much you want to reach your goals. I have already learnt so much from our team and from Ernesto Marinelli. I think the right moment has come for all of us." 

The Racing Ducati squad heads to Phillip Island in Australia for the final pre-season test just days before the opening round at the same venue on the 24-26 February. 

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