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EXCLUSIVE WSS: Chaz Davies - Q&A

22 September 2009

Chaz Davies will make his World Supersport debut in this weekend's Imola event, having signed to ride alongside Garry McCoy at the ParkinGO Triumph BE1 team for the remaining three rounds of the season.

The Briton campaigned uncompetitive 125 and 250GP machinery from 2002-2006 before moving to America, where he won the prestigious Daytona 200 on a Kawasaki in 2008.

This season saw the 22-year-old - whose last appearance on the world stage was as a stand-in rider for the Pramac Ducati team during four MotoGP rounds in 2007 - race an Aprilia RSV in the new Daytona Sportbike category, where he took podium finishes on his way to ninth in the standings.

Crash.net spoke to Chaz on Tuesday to find out about his year to date, his thoughts ahead of his WSS debut, plans for 2010, Moto2 and more...

Crash.net:
The American season has finished now, how did things go for you this year?

Chaz Davies:
It was alright. It got better as the season went on. We got the bikes and everything quite late, but from about the midway point of the year everything began to come together. We had a couple of podiums and in the last five races we were competitive up the front, but then we were also experimenting with a lot of electronics. I ended up not finishing some of the last few races due to a few problems. Anyway, it wasn't bad all in all.

Crash.net:
So this year there was an American Superbike class and a Daytona Sportbike class...

Chaz Davies:
Yeah. The Sportbike was a 600cc class and the Superbike class was kind of like a modified Superstock class. The bikes were fairly basic but they had some stuff you could do, like offset changes and things like that, which made them a bit more trick than Superstock. Our class was a bit strange, but it was pretty good racing.

Crash.net:
So how did the World Supersport ride come about?

Chaz Davies:
I was speaking to the guys at the end of last year. We were just talking a little bit and then I met the team boss for the first time during the US round at Miller. I started talking to him about what their plans were and all about the bike, because I knew nothing about the bike. When they realised that my AMA season was done, they thought they'd give me a try on the bike and that was it really.

Crash.net:
Then you had a test at Mugello last week?

Chaz Davies:
Ummm... not really! It was a track day. I wouldn't call it a test. I went out there mainly just to meet them and sign the contract. There was really bad weather as well.

Crash.net:
So all you could really do was adjust the positions of the controls?

Chaz Davies:
I sat on the bike and tried to get everything in place as best I could, but without riding it in the dry and riding it in anger you can't really get everything perfect. I moved a couple of things around though and got it to where it felt comfortable, so hopefully it'll help us a little for first practice at Imola.

Crash.net:
Have you ever ridden at Imola?

Chaz Davies:
I've never been to Imola. I used to play it a lot on the computer though! I know it a little from there but the last chicane has changed a little bit, and a few other things, for this weekend.

I've watched the Edwards/Bayliss [2002] title battle at Imola about 20 times on You Tube and my friend is going to bring over the new Superbike game tomorrow just before we leave, so I'll check it out on there. It's got the new layout - I hope it has anyway!

What makes it more difficult is that there is now only one practice session on Friday now and I've got to learn the bike, track, Pirellis...

Crash.net:
When was the last time you rode on Pirellis?

Chaz Davies:
2008, but they were the American-spec Pirellis. They are different again, but whatever.

Crash.net:
You'll obviously be in the deep end this weekend, what are you expecting?

Chaz Davies:
I don't know really. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself. I just want to go out there and see how quickly I can figure everything out and how quickly I can get up to speed. Just go and have a bit of fun. It's an extra bonus at the end of the year. The AMA season finishes so early, so otherwise I'd be dragging my feet for a few months while there is still racing going on in Europe. So I'll go out there to try and have some fun and see what I can do.

Crash.net:
Have you been following World Supersport much this year?

Chaz Davies:
I've seen most of the races, as many as I could. It's been good watching Eugene and Cal. I'm good friends with Eugene and obviously his brother, Michael, goes out with my sister and he's been racing in it as well. So there's been plenty of reasons to watch it and it's been good racing for the most part.

Crash.net:
Do you know Garry McCoy much?

Chaz Davies:
I know him and his wife a tiny bit from back in the day, when he was racing for Kawasaki in MotoGP. Nice guy, really chilled out. He's been doing pretty good this year so hopefully I can pick up a couple of things from him.

He was on the podium at Donington. There's been other races where he's been fast but things have happened in the first few laps. He's been podium potential at a few races, so that's pretty promising. I've got 15 kilos to lose to get down to Garry's weight though, I don't think I'll do it in time for the weekend!

Crash.net:
Looking further ahead, have you made any plans for next year yet, or is it all up in the air at this stage?

Chaz Davies:
It's all still up in the air. AMA is going through a bit of a strange period over there. Some people are in, some people are out. Same as everywhere really. Nobody wants to put too much money into racing at the moment because of the economy and then the rule changes in AMA have made things doubly hard. That might take a long time to sort out. So we'll see how things go in these three races and see where it leads.

Crash.net:
Next year will see the start of the new Moto2 class in grand prix, what are your thoughts on that?

Chaz Davies:
It looks cool. It looks really good. I like the idea of what they are doing with the class, making it cheap and competitive. And Fair. Which it hasn't been for a long time. I think it'll be good racing. I want to see a bike up close, because I'm pretty tall so if they are dwarf size... It's no good trying to ride a bike you don't fit. I want to see one in the flesh and then maybe if I'm interested I'll see if I can have a go myself. I just have a feeling the bikes are going to be really small. The same sort of direction the 250s were going. When I rode 250, the Aprilias were getting smaller and smaller.

Crash.net:
You used to race against Leon Camier and Casey Stoner in the 125 British Championship, and have remained friends, what have you made of their seasons?

Chaz Davies:
Leon has had a real good year. It just looks like everything has clicked into place. Before the season I was pretty confident that he should win it. Maybe not quite to the extent he has. He's made it look easy at times.

It's a shame for Casey this year. I haven't spoken to him since the week after Laguna. It's weird what can happen to do with your health sometimes. Not being able to diagnose it is probably the most frustrating part.

When I saw Casey at Laguna, after one of the sessions, he looked a jaundice colour. Yellow. He just didn't look good. Hopefully the break will be enough to get him back out there.

Crash.net:
You're at your parents place now (who own a go-kart and minibike track near the Welsh border), have you been riding much at home?

Chaz Davies:
I had a little go on the minibikes last night, but the farmer next door is pulling up his potatoes and was putting dust everywhere. It was pretty slick and I could see an accident coming, so I parked it!


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