Chaz Davies is aiming to give the v-twin Ducati Panigale R a winning final campaign in the World Superbike championship before it is retired for the Italian manufacturer’s news V4 bike.

The two-time World Superbike championship runner-up is set to begin his fifth year on the Panigale R which will be replaced by Ducati’s highly-anticipated Panigale V4 in 2019.

Heading into the 2018 season Davies has clinched all but four of his 27 WSBK race wins with the Panigale R – including seven wins from the final eight races in 2016 – and concedes it will be an emotional goodbye to the v-twin-powered machine.

"It will be an emotional season. This is my fifth year on track with the Panigale R. I've won many races with this bike, which triggers many special memories, so it will be an honour to properly send it off before the Panigale V4 debuts on track,” Davies said at the launch of the Racing Ducati squad ahead of the 2018 season.

Davies sustained knee ligament damage during a post-season test in Jerez last November and concedes he’s been playing catch-up to return to full fitness in time for the 2018 tests before the season opener at Phillip Island on February 23-25. On top of his injury issue, Davies and the factory Ducati squad have been getting to grips with the new technical World Superbike regulations with the maximum rev limiter hampering the team’s progress during the winter.

“The injury sustained last November has kept me busy during the winter break,” he said. “I worked hard to make sure I'm ready for the season opener.

“The new rules for sure will make it more interesting for the public. We just need to do our homework but I don't see any reasons why we shouldn't be as competitive as in the past. We're working hard and there are upgrades in the pipeline for Phillip Island. We're ready to battle.”

Davies and the World Superbike grid will enjoy one final pre-season test on February 19-20 at Phillip Island before the Australian circuits hosts the 2018 season opener on the final weekend in February.


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