Chaz Davies is confident the steps his Aruba.it Ducati squad has made with the Panigale R will enable him to fight for victories in the final laps of races in 2016 as he focuses on a World Superbike title fight.
The Welsh rider battled his way to the runner-up spot in World Superbikes last season behind runaway champion Jonathan Rea as he notched up five race wins with 13 additional rostrum appearances in 2015.
Davies and fit-again team-mate Davide Giugliano have been working relentlessly on improvements to the 1199 Panigale R with the introduction of a new electronics package and front suspension. Davies, who celebrated his 29th birthday at the WSBK team launch it Italy, says the developments will make the bike more competitive at the end of races after Kawasaki stole an edge on the final laps last year.
“The evolution of the bike from 2015 has gone in the right direction and got better,” Davies said. “We've improved the electronics and got new suspension in the front. I've got a good feeling. We've taken important steps to improve and aim to win races in the last laps. That is the key to what we've been working on in the winter and I really believe we've taken the necessary steps to give ourselves the best chance to fight for the wins.”
Reflecting on a breakthrough year with the factory Ducati squad, Davies says he swelled with pride after delivering the team's first win of the year at Aragon. He is looking to maintain his positive momentum from the second half of 2015 and the winter into the season opener at Phillip Island later this month.
“It meant everything to win on the Panigale R last year,” Davies said. “I wanted to get that victory more than anything else compared to seasons past. To race for Ducati and take a bike that hasn't been at the top to the top with the support of everybody at Ducati and Aruba that was the start of a great season.
“From the middle part of last season I got a really true base setting and enjoyed riding it and improving every race weekend. It proved we didn't have to change much on the bike and I could concentrate on myself. That has continued through the winter and we have found a level where we are really, really consistent and we are looking to translate it into results this season.”