Chaz Davies

Fast Bikes - - COLUMNIST -

Hello there, were many of you guys at Don­ing­ton for WSB? It’s been a bit of a bo­gey track for me and the Ducati, but things started off fairly well this time around. Prac­tice was good, we made some pos­i­tive steps and I was look­ing for­ward to a far bet­ter meet­ing than we’ve had be­fore es­pe­cially after qual­i­fy­ing on the front row.

Race one was all go­ing so well, and I got in the lead quite quickly. But I squared off the fi­nal cor­ner, and came a crop­per right where the na­tional cir­cuit joins the In­ter­na­tional lay­out we use. I came off the front brake a lit­tle fast, load­ing the front too quickly right on that join, and away she went – how very an­noy­ing! That’s the fine line be­tween push­ing to win and ex­tract­ing ev­ery mil­lisec­ond from each cor­ner, and set­tling for po­si­tions. I did get back on and scored some points, so who knows when they’ll come in use­ful.

In race two I’ve only my­self to blame, I had a weird launch and lost a load of places. Then I got tan­gled up in an in­ci­dent which pushed me off track onto the grass, then there was an­other crash right in front of me, so it was pretty event­ful, a bit too much to be hon­est! I sal­vaged a podium but had used a lot of tyre do­ing so. It was as good as it was go­ing to get.

I’ve seen all the talk do­ing the rounds about pos­si­ble mea­sures to give our ri­vals a bit of a leg up in WSB. Re­ally, it’s up to ev­ery­one else to catch up. Push­ing the en­ve­lope and de­vel­op­ment, sign­ing the best rid­ers and so on, is the name of the game. Kawasaki and Ducati are the only ones putting full ef­fort in, and Kawasaki don’t even race in GPs. Out­side of that, Yamaha are clos­ing the gap, but as the rules stand right now it’s their job to catch up. You can’t ex­pect big leg ups to teams that are strug­gling when we’re do­ing ev­ery­thing within the rules, just like ev­ery­one else. Peo­ple for­get how far the Panigale has come on since I first got on it years ago; it took a huge amount of work and com­mit­ment to get it in the po­si­tion to be able to win lots of races, it’s far from the bike it was these days, it re­ally is.

Prior to Imola all any­body said was that we needed to slow the Kawasakis down, after Imola it’s now Kawasaki and us. If there’s any­one that should agree with that, it should be me as I’m the one chas­ing them ev­ery week­end. But why should they, or us, be pe­nal­ized for do­ing a great job? I’ve been on the bikes that aren’t ‘front run­ners’, but you make the best from what you’ve got and I won a race as a full pri­va­teer in my first WSB year, and with BMW when things re­ally weren’t easy. Yes I’d like to see other rid­ers in the mix, but it needs to be done in a way that you’re not pe­nal­iz­ing oth­ers for be­ing good.

I do think con­ces­sions on en­gines and testing would be good though, those like Honda would re­ally ben­e­fit from it. Even a spec’ ECU may be good, but then fac­to­ries couldn’t de­velop elec­tron­ics for their road bikes any more, which is a big draw for WSB. And be­lieve me, you need elec­tron­ics on our race bikes!

Any­way, I’ve fi­nally got­ten to ride the Ducati GP bike! It was just a taste of 30 laps on used tyres (as they’re lim­ited), but it was good of them to let me. Hav­ing rid­den one bike for five years, the GP’er was very dif­fer­ent but I was sur­prised how smooth it was, noth­ing like the last 800cc Desmo’ an­i­mal I raced years ago.

I ex­pected a beast but it was a beauty! Ev­ery­thing from chas­sis, tyres and brakes were a lot stiffer and less for­giv­ing on the setup I rode on. The elec­tron­ics are also very dif­fer­ent, a lit­tle too con­trolled for me in fact, I’d have pre­ferred some­thing live­lier but they prob­a­bly just used a gen­eral set­ting for me. It was Pirro’s bike, and I’d need much more time to get used to one, but it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence. And wasn’t Dovi im­pres­sive at Mugello? What a win!

Lastly, Nicky Hay­den, wow I’m so gut­ted, he’s such a huge loss to rac­ing. It’s hard to be­lieve even now weeks later; it’s so aw­ful for his fam­ily and fi­ancé. It was hor­ri­ble be­ing re­minded it had hap­pened ev­ery five min­utes as I’d got­ten to know him a bit. We joined GPs at roughly the same time, and be­ing English speak­ing, we chat­ted a lot. It was also great hav­ing him in WSB too. RIP, mate, we’ll re­ally miss you rather a lot…

Chaz, styling it in!

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