Chaz Davies put the demons of his pre-season behind him by storming to victory in Thailand’s second WorldSBK race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon.
The new regulations continue to deliver surprises, with Phillip Island and Buriram having together witnessed three winners from four races and seven different riders on the podium for four different teams. Sunday afternoon’s result also brings an end to Kawasaki’s dominant run of seven consecutive victories in Buriram Province.
By his own admission, Davies suffered a nightmarish wintertime due to a heavy testing crash in Jerez at the end of last year. Charging from seventh on today’s semi-reserved grid, the Welshman has now managed three podium finishes from four this year and had also been leading in Australia when he crashed out of Race 2.
Pata Yamaha has made clear progress with a raft of updates and greater technical support in Buriram, backed up by a double podium finish for Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes. Kawasaki is less pleased. Tom Sykes retired into the pit lane with a problem on the front end of his bike, while the aforementioned Rea could muster only fourth place with a brake-related issue; his crew chief Pere Riba put this down to an overstressing of components brought on by making up for a loss of three to four tenths a lap in engine performance alone, due to the changed regulations.
Following on from a second 2018 podium yesterday, Xavi Fores completed an impressive weekend in fifth place while Thai placings of fourth and sixth signal a much improved performance from Leon Camier and Honda. Perhaps the biggest question mark hovers over Marco Melandri, whose double win in Australia seems a distant memory after salvaging just eighth and seventh places this weekend; the Aruba team is now working hard on a solution to the problem which sees the bike shaking violently in a straight line which, as well as knocking rider confidence, is further reducing performance by making it difficult for the Italian to breathe.
Toprak Razgatlioglu collected a career-best eighth, while Lorenzo Savadori was ninth and PJ Jacobsen’s top ten shows the progress his TripleM Honda squad is making with development of the Magneti Marelli ECU. On a day of high attrition, there were just 14 finishers with 11th to 14th spots occupied by Yonny Hernandez, Loris Baz, Roman Ramos and Jake Gagne. There is concern for Milwaukee’s Eugene Laverty, who crashed and was ridden over by Jordi Torres; while the Spaniard was passed fit following a medical test, the Irishman has been transported to Buriram hospital with suspected pelvic injuries. An update will follow later.