Aruba Ducati’s Chaz Davies found a better throttle connection with his Panigale V4 at Portimao after trouble in Spain but still says there are problems to be ironed out before it can be a race winner.
The Welshman, who was also contending with a painful back, admits he is not one for topping test timesheets and prefers to get happy and comfortable with a bike instead of thrashing an unco-operative bronco.
“We certainly got plenty of data and moved the bike into a window where I am more comfortable with it, but we still need to do a fair bit of work,” Davies told bikesportnews.com. “I am never one for testing anyway so in that respect I never think it is realistic at how I go in a test, and expect that to go across into racing. Historically that has never been a strong point of mine.
“It is nicer to be closer up to the sharper end, but we are not yet. I am more interested in getting the bike to feel right. Lap times are fairly secondary at this point. That is not to say that I am not going for lap times but the guys said to me after Jerez – I can’t remember what they said now - but basically, do you want to be up the front? I said I would prefer to be last - but happy with the bike.
“That is where it is in testing. If you are happy with the bike I think it counts for a lot more than being up the front. I am not really eager at the minute so we have got a bit of work to do to get me more comfortable with the bike.”
One particular area got a quick improvement after the Jerez tests, which Davies appreciated greatly. “The throttle connection was better at this test and they worked quite hard in the two days between Jerez and Portimao to improve my feeling.
He needed it to happen soon, as he explained. “We were really ready to throw some drastic changes at it. But the first run out it was not that far away. So they did work in the meantime. That is what we need, data that we can go back and digest and put some numbers to it and come back with a better package.”
When asked if he was surprised that there were some things like this affecting his first experiences of the bike after so the amount of testing that was done with Michele Pirro and other test riders, Davies said, “There was not that much done with Pirro and the other test riders, a handful of days, over a long period of time.
“It was brought to the track very early but the days that the bike has been on track have not been actually that many. There is certain stuff that needs to be ironed out, and we need to move quite quickly with it, but it will get there.”
With two days of testing still to come at PI before round one starts for real, Davies has two more chances to get race to race. And PI being such an individual layout; predictable results have been few and far between. So will it be a realistic reflection of the new Ducati, first time out?
“It could be either way at PI,” said Davies, ever the realist in terms of predictions. “You can have the best bike on the grid and turn up and struggle. I think it is the nature of that track and the first race of the season is always a little different. Things settle down by Assen, really, you know the lay of the land. Round two in Chang is a bit of particular one, because it is hot. Aragon is kind of ground zero and from there on you get a better idea of how things are looking.”