What went wrong for Ducati in Race 1 at Donington Park?

Saturday, 3 July 2021 15:54 GMT

The Bologna-based manufacturer struggled in Race 1 with a best result of tenth from Independent rider Axel Bassani…

It was a difficult day for all Ducati machines on the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid at Donington Park for the Prosecco DOC UK Round with the Bologna-based manufacturer claiming a best result of tenth place through Independent rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) while Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) was the highest-placed Ducati factory rider.

Rain greeted the riders as Free Practice 3 got underway on Saturday morning with Bassani the fastest Ducati rider in the 30-minute session in full wet conditions, claiming sixth place and around three seconds off the pace of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Scott Redding ( Racing – Ducati) was able to pull out sixth place on the grid in the Tissot Superpole session but saw his race come to a very early end after a Lap 2 crash at Turn 4.

Rinaldi claimed 12th place in Race 1 after starting from eighth on the grid, losing four places, while Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) started ninth and finished 11th. Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) was one of the retirements from the 23-lap race with a technical issue after completing 13 laps, meaning three of the five Ducati machines scored points after coming into the UK Round on the back of two victories at Misano.

Looking back on the difficult Ducati Saturday, Redding said: “I’m just struggling for grip, I don’t really know what’s going on at the moment. Normally in the rain I’m quite strong, but it feels like I’m on an ice-skating rink out there. Guys are overtaking me, and they aren’t even moving. It’s kind of hard for me. We’re doing one thing with the set up, then we’re doing another way, and it’s just trial and error all the time so I’m not really getting rhythm. I’m tipping into the corner and I already feel the rear sliding. As soon as I touch the throttle, it’s going. There’s no feeling to have grip and it’s quite difficult around a circuit like this to have no rear grip going into the corners.”

Explaining what he thinks is causing the issues and may have contributed to his race-ending crash, Redding added: “The problem is I’m not really getting the rhythm around here. I don’t have the feeling that I normally have with the bike, I seem to be fighting a lot and it’s not smooth. And that’s why, in the rain, it’s difficult and in the dry it’s difficult. The crash was probably because I was trying to do something that the bike didn’t want to do, I had more lean angle than the other guys to try and make the same turn down at the top of Craner and that’s probably why it caught me out and the others could get away with it.”

Rinaldi was similarly despondent after finishing outside the top ten, saying: “It was a difficult race today. It was seriously under our expectations. We won in Misano and arrived here full of confidence but seriously I couldn’t ride in the way I want and we are missing something. The comments are the same from Aragon so we need to understand what’s happening when we are not in the right conditions but you cannot win races and then the race after take so many seconds, so something is missing now and what we can do is only work hard because we already showed our potential”

Can Ducati turn it around on Sunday? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!