Jorge Lorenzo won’t be the only rider to step onto a factory Ducati MotoGP machine in 2017, with Ducati confirming to MCN that World Superbike racer Chaz Davies will be rewarded for his 2016 success by getting his own test on the machine later next year.
Davies was in contention to replace the injured Andrea Iannone in the latter half of the 2017 season, but was held back by Ducati due to the impressive run of form that saw him take seven wins in the last eight rounds of the season, according to Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti.
“We thought about asking Chaz to replace Iannone, but it would have been in between two rounds of World Superbikes and he was doing great at the time. We wanted him to finish his season on a very positive note.
“But we also thought that he deserved a better chance, one where he was able to test the bike beforehand. It could have been a risk for him coming to Australia, and seeing the weather conditions there we were glad it didn’t materialise. Four dry sessions and a warm-up aren’t enough, never mind in the conditions we had there.”
Instead, he’ll be repaid for his successes with a day to learn the machine before any potential wildcard appearances, taking part in a test at some point during the season under better conditions.
“Next year, we have a clear mission to win World Superbikes. With the points he scored in the last part of 2016 we could have been title contenders, and that will be our main target for 2017.
“Having said that, Chaz would like to do a full test where he has one day to fully experience the bike and make all the adjustments he needs. We’ll try and find that possibility next year, because we’re curious to do it. We just need to find a time in the season to do it with the minimum of risks, because next year we have a very important mission and a real chance of being title contenders if we can maintain the momentum.”
The Welshman's previous Grand Prix experience is limited to three wildcard rides in 2007, deputising for Alex hHoffman on the Pramac Ducati while riding full-time in the AMA Superbike series, finishing 16th and 17th and crashing out of the Australian Grand Prix.