Marco Melandri is hopeful of strengthening his position at the top of the World Superbike Championship standings in race one at Buriram tomorrow. The Italian leads Tom Sykes by 17 points after his double victory in Australia and expects another competitive race at the front on Saturday.
The Ducati rider, who was fourth fastest, explained his team’s approach on Friday with race pace the focus, and is confident that it will pay dividends on Saturday afternoon.
“It was a good day. Luckily the temperatures were more mild than usual so it was actually nice to ride here and I had fun. My feeling with the bike is OK. We still need to put together a few pieces of the puzzle but I’m quite confident ahead of the race, though anything can happen with such narrow gaps in the time sheets. We worked methodically on race pace, but we were also able to set a competitive lap time on fresh tires, which means we have good balance overall.”
Team-mate Chaz Davies was fifth quickest overall, securing his spot in SP2 tomorrow morning, although the Welshman sees plenty of room for improvement.
“We improved steadily throughout the day despite a couple of issues in FP2 and FP3 that delayed our progress a little bit. The most important thing is that we’re not at all far from the top, and we can still improve, especially in terms of grip and stability under braking. At the moment it’s a work in progress and it’s hard to make predictions because we’re all very close, so tomorrow’s morning session will be important to verify a few things and tick the last boxes ahead of Race 1.”