Approaching his second season on the Aruba-backed factory Panigale V4R, Chaz Davies is in better shape than in 2019, when injury affected him more than anything.
The Welshman is still not quite ready to go racing yet, but one more test should do to it.
“I don’t feel like if we had to race here tomorrow that I would be ready, but that said these track conditions are quite different to what we have here in the summer,” Davies told bikesportnews.com.
“We still have some things to box off in that PI test. Come the first race, I am expecting to be a little bit more competitive.”
Compared to after this test in 2019, Davies believes he is in better shape now and can even put a number on it.
Completely different and a lot better I think – 1.8 seconds better to be precise. A lot better from that point of view and of course I know the bike a lot better now and I am injury free. Much better frame of mind.”
There were some big changes to his bike’s chassis components, and some big changes and big comparisons at Portimao.
“Yeah, back-to-back-to-back-to-back, really. Just making sure that we know where we are at with it. Some big changes. I think the new stuff and the changes have been good but there are still a couple of things that are hangovers from 2019 really.
“I want to try and improve the bike. There is still some fundamental stuff where I want to improve. Even though the parts they have brought here have been decent. A step in the right direction there are still some base characteristics that I want to try and get on top of. More turning, really, corner entry.”
So is there a lot of work to do or a bit of work to do? “There is a bit of work to do,” he stated. “There is one test item we did not get manage to get round to doing. But that is pretty much it on the list. We will fix our bike for that first test in PI.
“We won’t be changing swingarms, and changing some of the parts we’ve had here. We will be set with them, which will be good. There is just one thing to confirm at the tests and then work on the tyres that Pirelli bring us.”
Last year front forks were something Davies chopped between - the previous WorldSBK cost capped ones and the wider diameter 2019 WorldSBK spec versions. That is still Davies’ missing part of the chassis jigsaw, to be decided finally in the PI tests.
“That is what we have to do, but I is not something I am too stressed about it because I am pretty happy where I am at. But Öhlins want to re-confirm again.”