Chaz Davies put in the perfect performance to give Ducati the Rac One win at their own backyard, dominating at Imola from flag to flag.
The Welshman led the race from the first until the last corner after topping all previous sessions between practice and qualifying, taking the holeshot from pole position and the first, historic victory for the Panigale R in Italy.
Davies also posted the fastest lap of the race (rewriting the circuit record) with a blistering 1:46.700 during lap three, pulling away from the group together with championship leader Jonathan Rea.
Rea continued to chase hard, but a mistake at Turn Seven on lap eight allowed the race leader to gain a five-second advantage, a margin he comfortably maintained until the checkered flag.
Davies said: “Today’s race was just perfect. I got a clean start and then I got my head down to push since the very first lap and make my own rhythm. At first, the gap between Jonathan and I was going back and forth, but after a few laps I tried to break away and then the pitboard signaled a five-second margin, but I kept pushing to stay in the high 1:47 mark as long as possible.
“To win here is different from any other track and simply special, Imola is Ducati’s backyard. From Aragon onwards, my Panigale R has always been competitive and in the ballpark. The latest engine upgrades allowed us to be on par with our rivals, and I want to thank Ducati for giving me a complete package. Now I hope we can repeat ourselves tomorrow. The forecast says it might rain, and we need to be ready no matter what.”
Team principal Stefano Cecconi said: “There isn’t a better place than Imola to celebrate a victory. The atmosphere here is just fantastic, and the passion of our supporters fills the air. With Chaz, we scored a ‘hat trick’ taking pole position, fastest lap and the victory. Davide recovered strongly since yesterday, both during Superpole and the race, where he managed to be consistent despite an issue. Tomorrow, our goal is to have both riders on the podium.”