Chaz Davies is thrilled he chose his head over his heart and gambled starting on intermediate tyres on the drying Magny-Cours circuit to produce a masterful performance for victory in race one.
The Aruba.it Racing Ducati rider secured his sixth win of the season by being one of just three riders to take the risk of intermediate tyres on the grid despite the majority of the track still soaked by overnight rain.
The Welsh rider kept his cool after slipping to the bottom of the top ten in the opening laps but as the conditions dried up he quickly turned up the pace to scythe up the order. With six laps to go Davies bolted into the lead and eased away from the chasing pack without needing to stop for a switch of tyres.
Davies says he weighed up his tyre options just before the starting grid and was relieved to have his gamble pay off for a maiden win at Magny-Cours to keep his hopes up of catching the top two of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.
“I tried to use my brain as much as possible and way up all the factors, which is a lot,” Davies said. “The drying speed of the track, how wet the track was, how many bikes are out there, the wind, the temperature, everything. You have to take it all into account.
“This isn't a track that dries very quickly, so I was a little worried about the first laps more than anything because it was proper wet and you know the intermediates aren't much different to the slicks in terms of compound.
“The first laps were a battle of survival just trying to stay upright. If I didn't crash in the first laps I was expecting to get taken out because I was so slow. But anyway, I stayed upright, didn't get taken out and I could see the guys going away but I was happy because they didn't disappear into the distance.
“Then I was thinking, 'Stay on and don't do anything stupid, see what happens, let it play out.' Sure enough I started taking two and three seconds a lap and at that point I knew it was game on for the win so I was very, very happy.”
Davies has moved to 42 points off Sykes in the battle for second in the World Superbike championship standings, while the Welsh rider has made it his most successful campaign to date with his six win of the year.