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The sun shines on Ducati at Snetterton

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Ducati teams make further strides in both British Superbike and National Superstock 1000 classes

Ducati enjoyed its strongest weekend’s racing for some time at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk (5-7 July). Tristan Palmer had yet another fantastic race in the National Superstock 1000 class for Rapido Sport Racing, while the team’s rider in the main British Superbike class Matteo Baiocco scored the a best ever result by breaking into the top ten.

Coming off the back of a good weekend at Knockhill the team had the top ten in its sights, but with the ultra-competitive nature of the series, nothing is ever certain. The Italian made a good start in race one and jumped two spots from thirteenth on the grid to 11th at the end of the first lap, finding himself in a fierce mid-field battle that stretched from eighth back to 14th.

A safety car period followed, and Matteo managed to move up to ninth at half race distance before dropping back a couple of spots to eleventh. It looked like the Factory Ducati World Superbike test rider would just miss out on that elusive maiden top ten, but a fall from one of the front runners on the penultimate lap bumped the sole BSB Ducati back into the top ten to score the best ever finish for the Rapido Sport Racing team.

Another strong performance in race two for Italian rider and bike saw the Rapido Sport Racing team once again knocking on the door of the top ten. By lap 11 of 16 the Italian had taken tenth and was lapping slightly faster than the riders ahead. By lap 14 he was up to ninth, but a resurgent James Ellison just edged him back to tenth for a repeat result of race one over the line. Both rider and team were delighted with the double top-ten, and are confident that the performance can be repeated for the rest of the season.

Things would get even better for the Italian marque as the day went on, with Tristan Palmer starting from second place on the grid for the weekend’s only National Superstock 1000 race. A superb launch saw the rider from Nuneaton rocket into first place into the first corner. He was pushed back into second on lap two, but after a brief safety lap period took the lead back on lap nine.

A mistake on the same lap saw Palmer drop back to third, and despite his best efforts, didn’t have enough grip left to challenge in the last few laps. A scary moment at Montreal on the final lap saw Palmer run very wide, but he managed to pull the 1199 Panigale up just in time to maintain fourth place across the line.

Signs were also positive from Robbie Brown in the Superstock class. The DMC Racing rider had been struggling all weekend, but a change to the traction control gave him the smooth power delivery he’s been searching for all season. The 24-year-old had moved forward from 29th on the grid to 18th before a burst water pipe forced him out of the race on lap 11.

The Ducati TriOptions 848 Challenge made a welcome return to the support bill this weekend, and provided even more exciting racing for Ducati fans. In race one, Jonathan Railton’s unbroken winning spree was brought to an end with a superb lights to flag victory for Marty Nutt on the number 77 machine.

Race two saw a fantastic race-long battle between Nutt and Railton, with Nutt muscling past the current championship leader and defending strongly for the majority of the race. On the penultimate lap, however, there was nothing the Northern Irishman could do to hold off Railton’s charge, and at Agositini corner the number 40 machine took the lead. Railton pulled out a gap of almost half a second over the line, and made it five wins from six races so far in 2013.

Matteo Baiocco said:

“I’m happy for the position because we brought some good points home. We are much closer to the factory riders than at the other races so this weekend had been good. We stopped the improvements with the bike after qualifying. We might have been able to do some more with the setting but we were scoring our best results so it wasn’t worth risking it. The races felt long – I forgot about the sun, the last time I was here the track temperature was two degrees so it was very different. In the end, to get this result without coming to test here, which a lot of the other teams did, looks good for the rest of the races.”

The teams return to action at Brands Hatch for round 6 of the British Superbike Championship 19-21 July.

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