Chaz Davies says if he and his Aruba.it Racing Ducati squad made a bolder call to pit earlier he would have challenged Kawasaki duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes for top spot honours but leaves Assen upbeat after solidifying second place in the championship.
In the dry race one Davies looked a strong contender to maintain his winning streak from his double in Aragon last time out but tyre woes in windy conditions and an abrasive track surface prevented the Welsh rider from a last-lap attack on Rea.
Settling for second Davies had hoped for gains in race two but a sudden rain shower midway through the earlier World Supersport race threw up challenging circuit conditions which saw the Sunday race start wet but gradually dry out.
Davies, along with race leader Josh Brookes and Honda's Nicky Hayden, opted to stay out on the wet tyres three laps longer than the Kawasaki duo but as the race unfolded it became apparent it was a gamble which wouldn't pay off as Rea and Sykes found immediate pace on slicks in improving conditions.
The Ducati rider has held his hands up that the strategy call wasn't the right one but believes had he been able to match the top two he would have had a late shot at victory.
“Unfortunately, we didn't choose the best strategy,” Davies said. “I thought the Kawasakis pitted in a bit too early, as the track was still slippery, but we waited too long. I'm disappointed, because another good result was within our reach.
“[In race one] the track didn't have much rubber on it because of the rain and, while we were clearly competitive, we had to deal with front-tyre consumption even without pushing too hard during the race.
“I tried to set the pace and stay clear of the fight going on behind me, but the wind made things more complicated. It was easier to follow than to lead. I gave everything to take the win, but in turn 1 during the last lap I almost lost the front and then I couldn't try another pass.”
Despite slipping to 45 points behind Rea in the World Superbike championship standings, Davies now holds a 14-point advantage over Sykes in third and is confident he can reignite his title charge at Ducati's home event Imola in two weeks time.
“The positive thing is that, since the warm-up, we were really competitive and made another step forward in the dry compared with yesterday,” he said. “I'm looking forward to Imola, it's our home race and I hope to make it a memorable one for all the Ducatisti.”