Welshman Chaz Davies has once again had to change teams as a new World Superbike season dawns on the horizon. He won three races on his semi-official BMW last year and after BMW pulled the plug he has joined the official Ducati Corse team for 2014 – run by the same Feel Racing crew he competed with on behalf of BMW last year.
The factory gig with Ducati has always been the most desired seat in this particular class of racing but after last year, and the near disaster that the Panigale 1199 became in top level racing, it looked like red was no longer a lucky color.
Recent test results have turned that idea around to a fair degree, but it has to be said, the entire Ducati World Superbike project is currently a work in progress. Roll on the all Evo class in 2015?
A reassuring thought for a rider in Davies’ position, with a two-year contract in his pocket. As a racer he wants to win right away, but he also understands that maybe 2015 will be his absolute best shot on the big Ducati twin.
We caught up with him after the end of the 2013 winter test schedule to find out his thoughts on more than just his immediate prospects on Ducati. But that is where we began.
How is it this year in an official Ducati team compared to last year in a semi-official BMW team?
I do not know any different because it is the same guys I was working with last year, and I cannot comment on how the structure was last year with Alstare. But because this is a joining of Feel Racing and the Ducati factory I feel that the effort and everything is coming from the factory. You are not a customer or anything. Development goes straight back to the offices in Bologna, and the racing office of Feel Racing is 10 minutes down the road. It is all there and I have been and seen where the offices are, seen how it all works and seen Gigi Dall’Igna there.
Whom were you working with in the Ducati team box during the last 2013 tests in Spain?
A lot of the guys were from the test team and obviously Feel Racing has their own group of people too, so I think it will be a mix of their own test team guys and some Feel Racing guys. Some prefer to be on that development end of it and not have to do the travelling. I think everybody has a clear direction of where it is all going. It does not make any odds to me because I am coming to Ducati fresh, but it will be very much a factory effort anyway.
Obviously you would like to go and race at Laguna Seca again, as an old AMA rider?
Yes I would because it is a World Championship, isn’t it? It is one of the biggest continents and I am all for less races in Europe and more external ones, as long as all the travelling makes sense. I would also love the chance to race at Sepang again, for example.
We will have very short race days now, with the new schedule, so you World Superbike guys are going to be warm-up, race, race - and then go home very quickly. Do you prefer this change or do you want the two bikes back so that if anything goes wrong you can use your spare bike?
From what I can see it does look a bit compact. Sometimes in morning warm up if you have had a bad Saturday I think it is cutting it a bit fine and you have to be a step more careful in morning warm-up, and even between race one and race two. It is tight. If you have an accident and the bike gets trashed… I like the downtime between them because what you see on TV or whatever, it is not just the races. We go to the paddock show, and so on. It is all well and good, but you are there for another 45 or 50 minutes. You are in your leathers, you are drinking what you can but you need to be eating something at that point to get something back in you for the second race. I think people do not see that from the outside. We are putting on a show, but we need to prepare properly as well. You cannot shove something down half an hour before the next race and perform at your optimum. You need to give yourself ample time to get back on the grid. All the little things like that I hope they have thought about. You should be eating while you are on the podium, ideally! If you are on the podium it is worth it, but if you still have the same process of preparation to go through, but you have lost about 50 minutes after race one, or something like that.
To read more of the Chaz Davies interview, click here