Chaz Davies will depart the Ducati WorldSBK fold with his head held high after signing off his seven season tenure in red with a 28th victory in the final race of the 2020 WorldSBK Championship finale in Estoril.

It was announced on the eve of the finale Davies - thrice a WorldSBK runner-up with Ducati - will be dropped by the manufacturer in favour of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, with the late announcement freezing the Welshman out of sourcing any other full factory seat for 2021.

The decision comes despite a strong second-half of the 2020 WorldSBK season, with Davies going the extra length in the last race of the year to hustle his way into the lead at the start of lap two, overtaking race one and Superpole Race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu.

From here Davies couldn’t be caught, surging clear of the pack to notch up his second WorldSBK win of the season, one that consolidated his third place in the overall standings.

The win very nearly allowed Ducati to overturn a sizeable final race deficit to Kawasaki in the fight for the manufacturers’ title. Kawasaki began the last race 18 points clear of Ducati but crashes for both new champion Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes suddenly turned the spotlight on Xavi Fores, who needed to finish ninth or higher to acquire enough points to  keep the Italian marque at bay.

In the end the Spaniard’s eighth was just enough to give Kawasaki the title - by a single point.

Despite the agonising loss, it was still a memorable day for Ducati with Davies leading Scott Redding for an emotional 1-2 finish, with Razgatlioglu ending a fantastic weekend - which included two wins - with another podium, in so doing grabbing fourth in the overall standings, ahead of his soon-to-be-ex-Yamaha team-mate Michael van der Mark.

Even so, Razgatlioglu was lucky to even finish after being involved in a bizarre incident with new champion Rea whose attempt to wrest second place from the Turk instead resulted in contact that took him down, but just avoided bringing his rival off as well.

A frustrating end to the year for Rea, it means his 100th WorldSBK race win target will have to wait until 2021.

Alvaro Bautista ended his first season with Honda with a fifth place results, ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Leon Haslam, Fores, Federico Caricasulo and Tom Sykes.

 

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