‘This is my year’
Having won seven out of the last eight races in 2016, Chaz Davies lines up for this year’s World Superbike Championship as the clear favourite to challenge Jonathan Rea for the title.
A step forward with his Ducati Pangiale during a test in the summer break saw Davies decimate the opposition in the final four rounds of last season. However, the Welshman and the Aruba.it Ducati team have not rested on their laurels over the winter and went in search of further improvements to boost their title chances.
“I’ve been asked a few times whether after last year’s results, testing for us would be fine-tuning but it really isn’t,” Davies told MCN. “We don’t want to find half-a-tenth, we want to find tenths and you’re not going to do that if you just do a little bit of that and a little bit of this. We can’t sit back and think ‘we won seven out of the last eight races’ as it doesn’t work like that. It’s up to us to react and step up the challenge.”
In 2016, Davies won more races than eventual champion Rea (11 v 9), so Davies’ title-fighting credentials are unquestionable. But the biggest flaw in the Davies/ducati package last year was the lack of consistency, particularly mid-season, which ended his 2016 championship bid.
“Consistency has been our downfall the last couple of years, especially when racing against Jonathan,” said Davies. “He is super-consistent, a bad day for him is finishing third whereas we’ve had zero points finishes and when you’re racing against someone like him that instantly puts you on the back foot.
“However, at the end of last season I didn’t put a foot wrong. I didn’t crash between the summer break and the end of the season and that’s where we’re at right now. The bike is more in balance
and I’m getting better feedback from it so I’m not skirting that limit of being on the edge of crashing in racing, I’ve backed off that few per cent which is the key to being able to push for the title this year.”
And the Welshman knows just how much it would mean to take the title for Ducati. Once a dominant force in WSB, the Bologna factory haven’t won a championship since Carlos Checa took the 1198 to victory in 2011.
“It would be massive to win the title for Ducati,” he said. “I know what it’s like to win a race for them so I can’t begin to imagine how it’d feel to win the championship. The bike has evolved a long way since I first jumped on it at the end of 2013 but things aren’t staying still, we need to push even harder next year and hopefully that will show in our results. I’m confident we can push for the title.” MCN Says: He’s the man Jonathan Rea should most fear with the undisputed pace to win races combined with the mentality to win championships. Unprecedented support from Ducati makes the 30-year-old a clear title contender with everything in place to succeed. He just needs to finish every race.
‘Consistency has been our downfall, especially when racing Jonathan’
Davies is raring to get his 2017 season going