Ducati challenger Chaz Davies used to boss the Imola shopfloor almost every year, but this season Kawasaki seemed to have a better time at Ducati’s home track than Ducati did.
“We just had not the right feeling and it was such a fight from the early laps until right at the end,” said Davies, who many expected to have been able to fight with Rea until the finish at Imola.
“It did not feel particularly good and I did not feel I could get the best out of the bike that I know has potential around here. At times it has felt OK, but with the extra heat in the race I Can only put it down to that, without going through the data. I guess it was a bit hotter. It just felt not particularly good.”
Davies said that the way his bike was moving around in corner entry was not due to a simple back end issue.
“It was more about keeping the bike stable on entry into the corner, keeping it under control. The rear contact was not such a big problem, but the style where it regains contact and how that upsets the bike, it just seemed to be quite nervous and not only there the first touch on the exit felt like I had a massively hard spring in it, or something. It was just weird.”
Kawasaki appears to have made a jump, in chassis settings say the Kawasaki riders, not in terms of a new components, but Davies feels that there is now a gap developing to the leading Kawasakis.
“It seems like it,” he stated, after finishing four seconds back from Rea. “The last couple of weekends have been quite convincing. At the start of the year it looked like quite even with what we have been struggling with out on track, but we have seen a difference for sure in the last couple of races, so maybe they have brought something else to the table.
“I don’t know I they have managed to take advantage of the concession thing or if they have just managed to get more out of their package, where I feel we have not hit our marks.”
When asked what one thing would he change Davies said it was not one particular point. And his seemingly advantage at Imola in corner exits push is not all-important.
“I have got a head full of things, it is a fight,” said Davies. “You can deal with if you have more or less acceleration, whatever, you can deal with that. The way the bike gets around the track there is a lot more to it than that. It is nice to have a fast bike but we need to put what we have to the ground and keep the bike more stable.
“To make the bike more fluid in corner entry to make the transfer to the front more calm, and we are not right there at the minute.”
A forthcoming test at Mugello may well go some way to helping Davies and his fellow Ducati cohorts, but as of the past two rounds it seems that Rea and Assen race two winner Sykes have clicked things up a notch.