Fac­tory Du­cati man back on form and in a class of his own in Ger­many

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Gor­don Ritchie WSB RE­PORTER

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

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