Chaz Davies made his Ducati WSBK podium debut with two hard-fought second places in the factory's home event at Imola on Sunday.

A fast start in race one put Davies into an early second behind eventual double winner Jonathan Rea, but the Welshman was forced to fend off Sylvain Guintoli and Tom Sykes to seal the position.

Race two saw an even more impressive display, with the former World Supersport champion charging from sixth to catch and pass Guintoli for second place with four laps to go.

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"These have been the best races of the season and undoubtedly my best race weekend so far, in that we've been consistently strong since Friday," said Davies. "It's great to be on the podium and is the best way to thank Ducati and all of the guys, both in the team and the factory, for all of their hard work.

"Race 1 was difficult, Jonathan got away quickly and there was no way to stay with him but we had a good battle behind him. Race 2 turned out to be pretty similar. We chose a fairly standard setting today and I was able to ride really well. I can almost ride the bike as I would like, we just have a small problem with rear vibration to iron out but tomorrow, during the tests, we will also work on this and I'm sure we'll be able to improve.

"I'm very pleased with the double podium of course and it confirms how much work has been done in Ducati over the last months, so I want to dedicate today's results to Ducati and all the fans."

Davies finished 4.5s behind Rea's Honda in race one and +4.0s in race two. He is now fifth in the world championship.

"We're really pleased with Chaz's results today; every time we go out on track we are able to improve and today's double podium confirms this positive trend that we've seen in recent months," said Ducati Superbike project director Ernesto Marinelli. "We're still missing that final step, and this is why we'll continue to work to be even more competitive, but we're heading in the right direction."

While Davies celebrated, team-mate Davide Giugliano was left to digest a solitary sixth place. The home hero had qualified on the front row, but fell while recovering from a bad start in race one and lost pace in race two.

"It wasn't the day that I'd expected but I have to look at the positives, or rather the fact that we've collected important data which we can use to improve and avoid problems in the future," he said.

"Unfortunately a crash in race one compromised a race that hadn't got off to a great start. I was catching up to those ahead quite quickly but then crashed and there was nothing to do about it. In the second I got away well, I was faster than Sylvain but, from the fifth or sixth lap I suffered a big drop and lost a lot of ground. Anyway, tomorrow we are here testing and will work hard to be more competitive at Donington."


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I would like to think that Ducati's drastic improvement after a year in the wilderness with a totally new bike is evidence that the same can be done at Buell, and next year will see them much more competitive. Fingers crossed.