WSBK Jerez: Davies ‘playing the long game’ ahead of Sunday

Chaz Davies insists he wasn't overly concerned with setting a fast lap time, focusing on improving turning and rear grip for Sunday's races
Chaz Davies was content with the work he did on the first day of World Superbike free practice in Jerez and insisted he is “playing the long game” to maximise tyre endurance for Sunday's two races.

The Welshman was the last of the British riders that occupied all four of the top places on the overall timesheets and eventually ended up just 0.09s slower than Tom Sykes, the fastest man of the day.

Feeling no ill-effects of the sizable summer break, Davies used the afternoon to test several settings in a bid to improve his Ducati Panigale's turning and rear-end grip.

“No major problems,” said a relaxed Davies. “We've just been working for the race settings on Sunday. We're trying to understand both tyres. This afternoon we tried a couple of difference things and we didn't quite put everything together to give us a good lap time. I feel like we have a good pace and understanding for tomorrow.

“Always in Jerez it knocks off a few tenths when the temperature goes up. The riders come off and the lap times go up. It's important to keep chipping away and not do anything stupid today. After six weeks off the bike we have to work our way through it.

“We did make some changes from the morning to the afternoon but nothing for the conditions, just to make me happier with the bike's turning and get the thing hooking up a bit better. We're playing the long game, keeping Sunday in mind. We're trying to work on giving ourselves the best amount of grip for as long as possible."

Asked whether a rider can feel adverse effects of a six-week summer break, Davies said that he has surprised himself in the past two years with his speed straight out of the blocks.

“I've surprised myself the last two years. Last year I think my best lap on Friday was lap three and today it was lap four. About eight or seven minutes to do my best lap time and you end up chasing it for the rest of the day. It's also to do with the conditions here. It's fresh in the morning. You don't forget after six weeks but sometimes you get on the bike and you look at the handlebars…the straight handlebars of a motocross bike aren't there.

“The motocross bikes you ride during the summer break, it's one down, five up. You just need to consciously think about that in the first session. It is definitely a long break but personally I don't find it has any big effect. Physically I feel fine. You can train all you want doing other stuff but there really isn't anything as specific as riding a bike. There's no substitute.”

While Alex Lowes fitted a new tyre to set the fastest time on Friday afternoon, Davies pointed towards the Kawasaki pairing of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea as the men to aim towards on Sunday.

“They've been strong here in the past. If we can work consistently for Sunday and keep improving our package and doing what we're doing I think those two guys will be there and we'll be there somewhere close by.”

Tagged as: Kawasaki , Ducati , Jerez , Tom Sykes , Davies , lowes

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