Chaz Davies say the key development gains with his Aruba.it Racing Ducati means “the bike is now a lot different” and hopes to retain the strong setup and feeling which secured his breakthrough victory before the summer break at Laguna Seca.

The Welsh rider enjoyed his best round of the 2019 World Superbike championship by far at Laguna Seca with a pair of second places followed up by his first win of the season in Race 2 – his first victory for 16 months.

Despite the lengthy summer break, Davies is hopeful of retaining his momentum at Portimao having gained confidence from the recent two-day test at the Portuguese circuit.

“After the summer break and about two months after my win, I know it’s going to be a tough race here at Portimao, but the gains we made at Laguna Seca and the work we did in the test have really put a bit of a spring in my step,” Davies said.

“I feel like the bike is now a lot different to the one I’ve been racing this season and I’m looking forward to the race because I feel our pace is quite decent.”

But with Davies last reaching the podium at Portimao in 2017’s opening race, the factory Ducati rider is bracing for a tricky round even with the added strength of the top speed of the V4 R compared to his previous Ducati.

“Going on past results, for me this track is not the easiest one to get a win at, but I’m feeling optimistic because the Panigale V4 R is going better around here than the twin ever did,” he said. “I’m feeling confident, even though Portimao is not an easy track and the bumps and undulations throw up a lot of different challenges.”

Davies will need to halt Jonathan Rea’s run of seven consecutive race wins at the Portuguese track – a sequence stretching back to 2014.

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