20 September 2015
Jerez: Davies credits team stability for recent run
Days after confirming that he'll stay with Ducati in 2016, Chaz Davies credits stability within his team as reason for his recent run of results
Attention may have been fixed on Jonathan Rea for his championship coronation but Chaz Davies is undoubtedly World Superbike's form man after he claimed second and first places at Jerez.
Following on from the speed he showed at Laguna Seca and Sepang, Davies reeled in early leader and race one winner Tom Sykes to take his points total from the past three rounds to 140 from the 150 that were available.
An announcement the week before the penultimate European round of the season confirmed Davies will remain in the Aruba.it Ducati fold for 2016 in what will be his third year with the 'Factory' supported team.
It is this stability, Davies said, that has aided his recent run in what he believes to be the best of his career.
“I feel like I'm riding good but at the same time given the opportunity to be here for a second year with the same bike… I said it before this year that it makes a difference. That's what you're seeing now. I'm on a bike that I'm comfortable with. The guys know me. I know the bike. We know what to change.
“It does make a huge difference when you've jumped around as much as I have over the years, like I have. It's nice to be on a stable platform and it makes a difference. I feel like I'm riding good and I'm loving it!”
Davies' lack of speed in the opening laps of race one meant he had no answer for Sykes' superior pace but he felt his set-up was perfectly suited for race two - held in higher temperatures -, an encounter that saw his Kawasaki rival's victory aspirations fade as his tyres lost grip.
“I'm glad we didn't change anything between the races,” he said after race two. “From the chassis side it was the right way to go about it. The hotter temperatures mean less grip which means you need a balanced bike rather than one which gives you four or five really fast laps. I felt like we had that. We had that in the first race as well but we didn't quite have the early race pace.
“In the second, even when Tom was going away, I thought that his speed was less than race one but more than I want. He dropped me pretty early. Then the gap stalled and stayed like that for a couple of laps. I kept chipping away, kept my rhythm and tenth by tenth it started coming down. Around then I knew it was a grip management game. While pushing I was probably on the limit for every corner on every lap.
“It's grip management. When the absolute grip has dropped off it's treacherous. Not just for me but for every rider. You can feel the front going, the rear coming around. It's a very fine line and delicate balance to do that to the limit every corner, every lap.”
Locked in a fight for second in the championship, the race two result ensures Davies stretches his advantage over Sykes to 22 points. The Welshman insisted however, that adding to his win tally in the final four races remains a priority over collecting points.
“I think you have to start with wins and then the rest will come. It's important to finish second in the championship but if you're able to keep banging out the wins then that is above all what will land you second position. I'm not really thinking too much about that.”
Showing speed and consistency that has matched Rea in the past four rounds, Davies refused to regret early season form which saw him collect just six points in Thailand.
Even had he scored competitive results there and Imola, the scene of a disastrous double DNF, he feels overhauling Rea wouldn't have been possible.
“No regrets in Thailand for sure. I felt that I was riding an underperforming bike. That's what I said at the time, that I wasn't going to apologise for mistakes. It was my fault for pushing hard and crashing but at the end of the day we're here to win races. At that stage in the championship I didn't feel like we were ready. Imola, these things happen. It was a very unfortunate day.
“You have to give credit to Johnny as well. There were a lot of other races when I was second or third and he was banging out the wins. The first half of the championship, if not more, he was the guy leading the championship and bringing home the 25 points. Although I've had my bad luck I think it would have taken more to challenge him. Maybe it would have made it more interesting.”
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