‘This is my year’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - OLI RUSHBY MCN SPORT REPORTER oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

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’

CHAZ DAVIES

Davies is rar­ing to get his 2017 sea­son go­ing

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