Factory Ducati man back on form and in a class of his own in Germany
Having started the year as one of the clear title favorites, Chaz Davies has had to watch his hopes fade in recent rounds. Plagued by set-up issues which have led to a fickle handling Panigale, the Welshman has been mired in a win drought that dates back to his double at Imola back in May.
But having tested at both Lausitzring and Misano during the long summer break, Davies arrived in Germany rejuvenated and clearly dialed into his Panigale. But nobody expected such an astounding race one display from Davies, who was setting meteoric 1’37 laps to win by over ten seconds. A result that even exceeded his own expectations.
“I knew that we were going to be there or thereabouts to win the race but that margin of victory - I never expected that,” explained Davies
When asked about his ability to reel off consistent 1’37s, which included a new lap record of 1’37.357 on lap two, Davies joked it was all part of his racers’ make-up. “I tried to stay in the 1’37s until I got scared I was going to do something stupid at the end. An OCD person like me doesn’t like things when they go into different second brackets, so I have to get over that one!”
The key to his success was all down summer testing, going back to basics on his chassis settings, and getting over a recent back injury.
“We have changed the seat pad a little bit. We have changed the fuel tank profile just for me, and we have changed geometry a little bit.
“We have done two tests this summer and in both of them we rolled out and were quick straight away,” affirmed Davies who notched up his 14th WSB career win and his fifth of 2016.
“We got a reference for the track here in testing. I went away from here not knowing if we were fast or not but then I went back to Misano and within ten laps I was faster than I had been in the whole race. I finally got back what I was looking for – a different feeling from the front of the bike. That was done on pure set-up. The team and Ducati have done some digging for me, and found something to suit my style, because obviously I brake pretty late and they have come up with something which is exactly what I want. I am just happy to go through such a good summer when we have been leaving the test with smiles on our faces and then come here. The racing then starts, and this is the serious business.”
Unable to replicate his win in a wet race two, Davies finished sixth on Sunday. His opening race pace heightens the question of ‘what-if’ for Davies’ season overall. Once a genuine title challenger, even two doses of no-score setbacks for Rea have not made Davies a realistic champion prospect in 2016. He leaves Germany 98 points behind the lead, and 51 points behind Sykes.
‘I knew we would be fast but I never expected that margin of victory’ CHAZ DAVIES
Chaz ends his win drought with an astonishing ten second lead