27 February 2016
Davies to rethink last-lap strategy after victory fight
Chaz Davies says he needs to rethink his final-lap strategy after a last-gasp move for the lead proves unsuccessful in a thrilling season opener.
Chaz Davies revealed how close he and Jonathan Rea had come to colliding on the final lap of their thrilling first race duel at Phillip Island and believes he must “think of a better strategy” for Sunday's second race.
The Welshman came within two corners of beginning 2016 in victorious fashion after he moved under long-time leader Rea at the downhill turn ten, only to lose out on the entry of the following left.
“The ball can bounce either way,” was Davies' philosophical assessment of the outcome, in which he finished second, before stating he came “really, really close” to colliding with eventual winner Rea after the Northern Irishman's race winning manoeuvre.
Locked in a frantic leading group that, at times, included eight riders, Davies stalked the Kawasaki man from second position for the majority of the race's second half. From there, the Welshman chose to attack at the downhill turn ten, believing it to be “the closest to the finish line.”
“There's not a lot I could have done different,” said the 29-year old, who eventually lost out by just 0.063s. “I could have passed him in a different spot and tried to hold him off until the line but we'll have a think about it tonight and see what we can do different.
“Me and Johnny had a little gap and it could have gone either way quite easily. I was happy with how I rode but we need to think of a better plan for the last lap. There were many options but I chose this one because it was the closest to the finish line.
“I was really confident that I could pass him and win the race here. In the end he changed his line a little over Lukey Heights to defend a little bit. Nothing crazy but in the end it forced me to go inside. That forced me to go too wide. It gave him the opportunity for him to pass me back. We need to think of a better strategy for tomorrow.”
Despite ending day one eighth, Davies had a clear idea in mind on how to extract more grip from the Ducati 1199 when opening the throttle. The overnight changes paid dividends from the first lap in FP3 and despite unsuccessful set-up adjustments for Superpole (“It was s**t, it sucked!”) the Welshman was a match for Rea's unerring pace for the entire race.
Having this confidence in set-up direction was a huge positive for the Welshman. “Yesterday was really difficult to stay in the 31s,” he continued. “Even after four laps it was really difficult to turn the bike. We did something really simple and changed something very easy.
“This is the good situation we're in at the moment. We know how to go fast at different style circuits. Yesterday, when we finished free practice two, we said 'This is my feeling and this is what we need to do.' Then this morning the first lap, boom. It's good to be so confident to say this is the direction. It's credit to the team because they've given me this knowledge.”
Other than rethinking his final lap strategy, 29-year old Davies feels only minor adjustments are necessary for Sunday's 22-lap affair.
“We might change a little,” he added. “We'll digest what was good and what was bad. I think we can change not so much, because I was happy with the bike.”
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