Chaz Davies: A tough ride to the top

“[We] changed stuff from the chassis that we haven't managed to test yet. During race weekends, you're not limited, but you don't want to get too experimental. It's not the time, you need to do that stuff in testing.

“It is nice when you have been to that particular circuit on the bike the year before. It's worth a lot and it's easy to overlook that. [It's my] second year on a superbike but the first on this bike and it takes Friday to get near where we need to be set up wise.”

80 points from the championship leader may seem a lot, but the inconsistency that has niggled Sykes, Laverty and Melandri suggests Chaz can still count himself in the championship hunt. A run of high scoring point finishes has left him in with a shout. He does however recognise those in front will be difficult to overcome.

“The three guys - first, second and third [Guintoli, Sykes, Laverty] - in the championship are the favourites at the moment. They've got decent points. Those three guys are the guys to beat week in week out. Obviously Marco has had a good weekend at the last few events and I haven't been too far behind [but] I think they are the guys to beat.”

Before his time in the World Superbike paddock Chaz definitely had to forge his own way in world championship racing.

His world championship debut came as a fresh faced 15-year old in the 125cc class in 2002 after some impressive rides in the British championship the year before. It was believed his leggy frame would be more suited to a 250 and he spent three and a half years in the quarter litre class battling on considerably inferior machinery.

There were several flashes of raw potential, particularly finishing the final three races of 2004 inside the top ten with Dieter Stappert's Aprilia Germany team. At Phillip Island and Valencia he finished sixth and fifth, beating the factory Honda mounted Robbie Rolfo and Hiroshi Aoyama in the process. Yet still the machinery upgrades and factory offers failed to materialise.

At a time when competitive 250cc rides were at a premium Chaz failed to receive the attention or acclaim that some of his gutsy rides warranted. Still, he feels those years helped the learning process.

“There's only so much you can do with an underpowered bike and not a lot of support. I definitely learnt a lot in them years but at times it felt like you were smashing your head against a brick wall.

“I'm not going to say that if I had the bike I'd have been World Champion several times but we'd have scored better results and that leads to better opportunities that were never available at the time.”

He was given the chance to replace Alex Hofmann at the d'Antin Ducati team mid-way through the American round of the 2007 MotoGP championship. His impressive times in morning warm up (when he was faster times than six championship regulars in only his fourth session on the bike) led to him subbing again at the Australian and Malaysian rounds. A lack of testing time however meant he failed to score points.

Related Pictures

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Davies, Aragon WSBK Race 2 2013
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Chaz Davies, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Savadori, Imola WSBK 2017
Savadori, Imola WSBK 2017
Hayden, Imola WSBK 2017
Sykes, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, Imola WSBK 2017
Alex Lowes, Imola WSBK 2017

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June 19, 2013 11:44 AM

Thanks Crash. Nice to see some quality journalism with your interview of Eugene and story on Chaz. Both of these guys are true riders and gentlemen. Pleasure to have met and chatted to both. Would be great if Crash did a quality story on a different rider each week (not just the British / Irish guys), and let some of our lounge chair racers know the full story behind some of these riders. might stop them being d*ckheads (as Eugene calls them) and have them understand that if a rider does tell it like it is he is not making excuses! Have a good weekend at Imola Norge - see you at S'stone.


June 20, 2013 4:52 PM

No doubt in my mind of the quality of Chaz and his speed and potential. I'd say his points about set-up time and having no data are valid and not excuses - he's proved already that he has the speed, consistency and commitment to beat the best. A decent run of weekend weather will help him show his true potential. Having said that, I'm sure that next if the bike was the same next season and he had a set-up start point his results would be even better. Big question is what Dorna will do to actually ferk WSBK up into a non-competitive techno p1ss1ng contest like its managed to do with MotoGP. Already involving Mfrs in the decision-making-process and going the limited engine route suggests that Dorna are going to make a right mess of WSBK using a model that is ruining the racing in MGP. I have little faith in Dorna to manage WSBK responsibly and in the best interests of the sport. Dare say Ezpeleta's bank-balance will be great though.

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