Chaz Davies’ fall in today’s WorldSBK Superpole two saw him starting the first race from the fourth row, but after a good start he was up to sixth on lap one and fourth on lap five.
He finished second, overhauling his slowing team-mate Marco Melandri two laps from home and then Xavi Fores on the final lap – but only just after an epic tussle that went right to the wire.
The last lap fireworks on an evenly-matched bike were thrilling to behold, even if it was for second and not the win. “That was a race and half, a good one,” said Davies after recovering from his morning mishap. “It was hard work and I am doubting my rear tyre choice. I am not sure if I made the right decision.
“Feeling what I felt in the race I felt I could not give too much more in the last laps. It came to me a little bit but I still don’t think even then that it was much good. I was a little bit disappointed about that because it was not easy to ride but I am happy with the position and the result - but just a little bit unhappy with the feeling I had today.”
For Davies anything but the ‘C’ rear may have worked more in his favour.
“Any of the other softer tyres, but I knew going in that I was going to make the safe choice. Maybe a little bit of a risk would not have hurt.”
His fight with Fores was a fiery end to a highly combative 17-lap race, shortened by one lap after a red flag after Leon Camier’s crash.
Davies knew his last chicane initial pass on Fores had an element of risk about it. “It is quite hard to get it pulled up there and I thought he was going to come straight back by me on the back straight but I managed to square it. And at the end as well.
“He was good in that final corner all race. I wad fighting the grip, on my grip limit, and he was up the inside of me. I could hear him coming, like BWAOOOAR! Like a tractor on the inside, so I had to square it and try to cut underneath him. I managed to get it picked up and put it on the drive part of the tyre.”
It looked like a four way fight for the win with two-thirds gone but suddenly Rea moved on the pace and finally Melandri slowed, but Davies was already thinking that Rea had something extra.
“I think Jonathan was managing the race a bit, and I never saw him really close, but I am pretty sure he was probably managing the race and putting together a few good laps. And, more than anything, a couple of good sectors.
“The lap times for us were not very quick, then I think Xavi made a small mistake - and that was it. I think Johnny just dropped the hammer. I was trying to save my tyre a little in the early laps but I do not think it was the right strategy, or the right tyre.”
After a fourth row start on Saturday, Davies second sees him of the third row for race two, as will his race one podium colleagues Rea and Fores. Well known for his ability to come through the traffic, Davies is not keen on developing far-back starts as a habit. He had recent examples why, despite his good early progress in Spain.
“My start was good but the first corner was better, as everybody pushed out a little bit,” said Davies. “The first couple of corners were really good. Staring from the fourth row is not perfect, not a good situation. I think it depends on the track if it determines the final result or not.
“I have to be careful because I can be two seconds behind on the first lap and be two seconds behind on the final lap. This happened at Assen and Donington last year. I had the pace for the race, but I was two seconds behind at the beginning.”