Wet Day On Track Gives Chaz Davies Even More Confidence

Gordon Ritchie | November 16, 2018

Wet Day On Track Gives Davies Even More Confidence—As all his main rivals were either absent or simply not riding in the heavy wet conditions on the second day of private testing at Motorland Aragon, Chaz Davies took the chance to get used to his all-new Panigale V4R.

He was pleased with the result almost as much as he had been in the fully dry conditions of day one.

Wet Day On Track Gives Chaz Davies Even More Confidence

Wet Day On Track Gives Chaz Davies Even More Confidence
There’s much work to be done, but Davies knows the base Panigale V4 R is a solid machine.

“I was going to have to ride the bike in the wet sometimes, so it might as well be here,” said Davies. “There were a couple of things we were looking for in the wet, compared to the previous bike. I feel like this bike gives me a bit more feeling on the rear, especially on corner entry, compared to the twin. Which is something we were looking for. The dimension and everything of this bike are a little bit more suited to giving me that feeling that I want, especially in the wet conditions.”

Davies was not hanging too much out in terms of risk, but setting as fast a pace as he dared. “It is one of those things in a test in the wet. Are you going to go at it? Not really, not really going to stick my neck out to get a lap time, but it seemed to come. The bike is quite confidence inspiring and so I just kept going around, not pushing crazy hard but just trying to figure it out a little bit. I felt all right with it.”

Wet Day On Track Gives Chaz Davies Even More Confidence

The rains stayed around pretty much all day at Motorland, but Davies made use of those periods when it abated. “I only went out when it had really stopped raining. It was a bit wet to begin with but then it stayed pretty consistent; the surface water just stayed on and did not go anywhere but it was not too much. It was fine. Another positive day, I would say.”

Overall, Davies and his crew left with a ton of data and a lot of confidence, after what were effectively two different tests on consecutive days. “I think it would be stupid to kind of expect more, and unrealistic maybe as well, so it was good data as well from yesterday, good data to go back with. It would have been nice to get a second day on it in the dry, just because you would sleep on it a bit, then wake up and go out on it again really engrain the bike into yourself, sort of thing. You would pick up again. At the minute when I get on it, it is like, “Oh yes, this is a bit different”, because I have been sitting on something else for five years. It would have been nice to go out and go after it again in the dry and keep exploring but I guess we will have to do that in the Jerez tests.”

Like most of his peers, Davies will test near the end of November, at Jerez – which is back on the 2019 WorldSBK calendar as well.

At the other Spanish track to be used in 2019 – Motorland Aragon – Davies did not get to try out Öhlins’ new WorldSBK spec front forks, that will be used by all in the forthcoming season.

“My bikes were the same spec as each other, both of them. We did not use the new forks and we are still running the previous ones, just because there are a couple of clamp alterations they have to make to suit the new forks for this bike. We tried the new forks already on the V-twin, in the summer, but they are yet to be tried on this bike.”

With his new 2019 official Ducati team-mate Alvaro Bautista heading to Valencia for the final GP of the season, just as Davies was riding his new bike as much as he could 250km further north at Motorland, Davies was asked what he expected from the latest former MotoGP rider to join the WorldSBK paddock.

Wet Day On Track Gives Chaz Davies Even More Confidence

Wet Day On Track Gives Chaz Davies Even More Confidence

“With the character of the bike he is probably stepping in at the right time,” said Davies. “This has got a lot more in common with what he has been used to than the twin would have, that is for sure. The twin has more flex to it and it is a bit lumpy whereas this bike is a bit more linear and got some DNA from the GP thing. What am I expecting from him? He is going to be quick, for sure. He will be quick. I think Pirellis are… it is not like going the other way. I think Pirelli is quite a friendly tire. I think maybe a couple of years ago the Pirelli was even more friendly and for that reason a bit mushy, but of movement. So it was possibly a harder tyre for those guys to switch to. Now, the difference is that the Pirelli is probably a little bit less friendly now, a little bit less mushy and a bit more precise. It has probably come closer to what they have got in GPs. I don’t think it will be any problem for him to come and adapt to the tires. I think he will probably get quite a bit of confidence from them straight away. They are kind of ready to go straight away the Pirellis. The GP stuff is a bit stiffer and they have to be worked for a couple of laps before they are good to go. You can see how tentative the guys (GP riders) are on the first couple of laps. We do not really have a lot of that with Pirelli. On Pirellis you can pretty much go from the beginning.”

Wet Day On Track Gives Chaz Davies Even More Confidence

Davies also thinks that Bautista will be a good litmus test for WorldSBK in general, and some people’s idea of where the level of the series is. Especially those in MotoGP for whom WorldSBK is was and always will be way down the scale.

“I think it is good having Alvaro as well because I like a fast team-mate but also hopefully it will bring – not that it should need it – but hopefully it will actually bring a little bit more respect to this championship, in certain ways,” asserted Davies. “Some people, I think like to look at it and love to be down on it and the level. Especially in that paddock. If he comes and wipes the floor with us then those guys are going to feel vindicated. If not, then I think – it probably won’t open any eyes at all because if you are born square you don’t die round – but I think a lot of people have a set opinion and you are not going to change that. There is certainly a different opinion over there than possibly the reality. But Alvaro is going to be quick; he has done very well at the back end of the season. He was given a factory opportunity and used it; he fought at the front for a podium in that class, which is good because we need somebody like that. If he does not come and wipe the floor with us then we are obviously all doing something OK here. We are not all quite as s*** as what some people think we are.”

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Gordon Ritchie | World Superbike Editor You may not understand Ritchie and his Scottish accent if you had him on the phone, but you can definitely understand what he writes as our World Superbike editor.