Chaz Davies, winner of the most recent WorldSBK race at Laguna Seca until the season restarted this weekend in Portimao, turned a sow’s ear qualifying into a relative silk purse second place in a tough race one at Portimao.
Davies’ self-confessed ‘shit’ lap in qualifying saw him start from 12th on the grid but a tough move at turn one - which saw team-mate Alvaro Bautista pushed off track - promoted him to third but it wasn’t enough to do anything about winner Jonathan Rea.
“Considering Jonathan’s history around here I think it would have been a tall order to race with him today,” Davies told bikesportnews.com.
It is just the first four or five laps he does the real damage in. He is able to extract a lot from the bike on the qualifying tyre, or the race tyre, he can get really everything out of that fresh tyre. That has never been my strong point at times.
“I lost that sort of ‘carrot’ of Johnny in front of me, due to the qualifying and his pace is just superior on the first laps. But overall I think I was the best of the rest and the bike was working OK.”
Davies eased away from Michael van der Mark to take a clear second, but he was not that happy with his overall set-up.
“Struggling a little bit, but it looked like everybody was,” he confirmed. “But I am pretty happy after that qualifying. Honestly the qualifying was down to me. I just did a really shit lap. It was just poor.
I made too many mistakes and tried to push too hard. The wind was also on the change a little bit and that also caught me out a bit. I was on the limit as you can probably see from the speed trap figures at turn one. I am consistently the fastest because it is located in the braking area and I am consistently on the limit with the brakes there.”
Davies had been only 12th in Superpole, starting from the back of the fourth row, but was almost instantly into the podium fight as he made his aggressive early passing move. And he even accidently roughed up his team-mate Alvaro Bautista along the way. Or not?
“I did not feel contact. I could be wrong but I do not think there was. Some people said there was and some other people said there wasn’t, but I did not feel anything. I was in there aggressive and deep.
“I was going to stop the bike, it was not like I was going to skittle anybody, but I was certainly in there late. I was very committed because I knew that was what I had to do to put in a good race.
“Unfortunately he was on the receiving end and I sat him up. Then I do not know what happened after that. I think it shocked him a little bit because I was very committed on the inside there. Sorry for that to him, but that is racing.”