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WorldSBK Jerez: How Davies returned to the business end

It feels like a long time since Chaz Davies had last been on a WorldSBK podium until he took a strong second place in the second Jerez full distance race on Sunday afternoon.

It was a long time, in terms of point-to-point in the calendar. Losail race two in 2019 was way back in last October, after all. It is August 2020 now. But it was also just a few real WorldSBK races and two rounds ago in terms of points scoring chances.

Second in race two, just three seconds back from the fast starting Scott Redding, was an impressive ride from Davies, especially for a rider who had qualified seventh in Superpole, and had been too far back to challenge after starting on the third row for both race one and then the short Superpole race.


“I was focused on doing a better job from the start than in race one and then getting a better position into turn one and turn two - that was a the main focus,” said Chaz. “As a product of my grid position I was not in a good position in T1 or T2 in the previous two races, so it was good to start a row further forward - but more importantly a little more inside the track, which kept me out of trouble.

"I was very happy to finish on the podium, the first one of the year, and it was a strong result for the team.” Redding won the race for the first Ducati 1-2 for quite some time.

The seemingly long gap between podium rides is more of a thing for others to concern themselves with, said the ever-forthright Davies.

“It is a bigger deal for everybody else than it is for me. I am not stressing. Four races ago I was on the podium – more than four races ago - before this weekend. I think it is too easy to forget that we were not too bad at the end of last season and I am not stressed.”

Such was Davies better start and early lap position in race two that he maybe could have challenged for the win himself.

Not one for if, buts and maybes, Chaz also acknowledges the pace of his new team-mate Redding. “Hard to say but possibly when Scott went early on, when he broke the group – I have to check the lap times because I had a little bit of traffic - but I think he would have had a little bit more than me at that point,” stated Chaz.

“But obviously quite early on, from lap eight to 20, we were very similar all the way through. I caught a little bit then the last couple of laps I just closed the gas a bit. Ifs and buts, and it would have been nice to get away with him, but I think his early pace is what got him the win. I kept him honest and who knows, as it’s all ifs and buts but I was happy with race two.”

Qualifying is not always Davies strongest point, and he knows it can be improved on. So can other things, which he also knows, and maybe they have more priority right now.

“Honestly I did not do a great job with the Q tyre” stated Davies. “It was OK, and seventh is not my worst grid position. For the lap I did I was I was quite happy with seventh. I didn't do a particularly good lap because Scott has proven he is strong with a Q tyre, with a fresh tyre, in general, and that is a weakness of mine.


"I think the bike in general is better now, and it is actually allowing me to improve a little bit with a fresh tyre but we still have some steps to make, with new and used tyres. For qualifying we have tried a lot but I am more focused on improving the bike in general. With that, naturally we will improve the qualifying. In this second race today I feel like we have so much to improve still, and it is more important to improve the race feeling, even if qualifying is also important.”

The races at Jerez must have been some kind of high speed aerobic workout in a blast furnace, but Chaz feels he was ready for them after all his preparations.

“It would be easier if it was cooler but we put the hours in behind the scenes to be ready for this. It is a problem for everybody.”

Consistency is one repeating issue for Davies, who has won a huge 30 WorldSBK races in total, as recently as Laguna in 2019, but big changes have not been brought about to make the difference to his podium ride at Jerez. “Comparing here to Phillip Island for example,” said Davies, “PI was a bit tough. It is a different track, and basically we did not hit the nail on the head there. But if you look at from Laguna Portimao, Magny Cours, Argentina and Qatar, we were podium pace in all those races.


"The difference at Laguna was a mechanical part in the chassis, a hard part. There was a blip in form in PI, but I think we can just say that it was just PI in general - excluding tests because tests are tests. Here we are racing and we are back there or there abouts. Today’s improvement was about grid position and start. Only. A little bit with the bike and balance but the bigger difference for the race was that yesterday I was four seconds behind and on lap 19 I was 1.2 seconds behind Scott. I had good pace yesterday but the start was rubbish.”

In testing Davies has not been super-fast but found something to make an improvement on his set-up that paid off in Spain.

“We made a change in bike balance at the Misano tests and it was something positive so, obviously, we haven't raced since. It has been all about the one lap you see at the end of the day at the tests. I was quite content after Misano and content after Catalunya – not elated but I was pretty happy.”

With a new and obviously fast and consistent team-mate in Scott Redding, also a tall rider and broad at the shoulder like Davies, Ducati maybe - just maybe - have a more parallel development path to work in nowadays. But, day-to-day, Davies does his thing and Redding does his, according to Chaz.

“I think we work inside our own world, but for no reason. It is just that he is doing a good job, and I know my problems, he knows his problems; it is just we got on very well. There is more shared behind the scenes than during a weekend.”

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