No sooner than he had scored two brilliant Phillip Island podiums on the official Ducati Panigale last weekend Chaz Davies was asked about his prospects for the next round, to be held at the Chang International Circuit near Buriram in Thailand for the very first time. The question has a certain relevance for Davies as he is the only one of the top WSB riders to have visited the circuit, as part of the Ducati promotional tour to a country with a very strong sales record for the Italian manufacturer.
“It is very difficult to say because until you get on track you just never know,” said Chaz of the new WSB venue and his chances when he gets there. “It looks like a good track, modern and up to date, with brand new facilities. It is exciting and it is also cool to go to another country, and from what I can see the fans there are pretty passionate. Ducati is mega-successful here and it was very cool because I got to see one of their main dealerships in Bangkok and there is a main dealership in Buriram, so you can see the market there is huge. Hopefully we can put on a good show.”
Davies is enthusiastic to get to the next round as he now appears to have a much more sorted Panigale over race distance than he had in 2014, as his double podiums – right in the slipstream of the top two riders on four-cylinder machines - demonstrated in Australia.
“I feel that we made a step because last year here we either blistered the tyre or could not keep the grip in the tyre,” said Davies of Phillip Island. “It was one or the other. From the very first session in testing we worked so hard to avoid blisters and keep the bike stable for the race. I do not need the best bike but I need a bike I can ride at 90% of the limit of the best lap time for the whole race. That is the key at Phillip Island. I think we achieved it and did the best possible job we could have.”
Ever the calm and methodical rider Davies is keen to keep the raised expectations under control, but even his notes of caution were delivered from behind a mile-wide smile after a great weekend’s work at Phillip Island.
“It is a good start isn’t it, but it is not time to get ahead of ourselves,” said Davies. “It is a very long season and we need to keep concentrating use the data we have got from this weekend and the parts that have improved our bike to keep moving forward. I am very excited and looking forward to the next one.”
He will have some time to wait as the first ever Thai WSB round will not take place until Sunday 22nd March.