WorldSBK Portimao: Davies unravels electronics issues just in time

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Davies' choice of brolly dolly is, erm, questionable
Davies' choice of brolly dolly is, erm, questionable Picture: GeeBee Images

After serious issues early in the Portimao race weekend, Jerez podium finisher Chaz Davies took his Panigale V4R to fourth place in the final WorldSBK encounter.

Serious electronics issues were to blame for his Saturday finish out side the top ten, but they got sorted for Sunday. Unfortunately Davies was to fall at turn five in the sprint race, and take Eugene Laverty with him or he could have had two better results.

“It was evident this morning straight away that we had fixed the problem that we had yesterday,” said Davies on Sunday. “Partly to do with the electronic set-up so the bike was more stable from the first lap until the last. I could just push the bike rather than yesterday I felt like a passenger.

It was the electronic set-up, basically everywhere. It was a set-up thing, but the window was too tight. It is complicated. Far too complicated; causing interference in a certain area. I was hoping to get on the first few rows in the Superpole race because the pace was not so bad, to give myself a chance to fight for a podium in the last race. I think the pace was similar to Scott and Michael, but unfortunately the crash with Eugene in the Superpole race meant I could not move forward on the grid.”

The crash, missed on TV, was described by Davies, saying with his usual matter of fact candour and admirable honesty, “I was on the inside. I passed Eugene; I thought I was past him. I was expecting him to cut back on the inside because I was a little but deep. I lost the front. I was fighting to save it but he was already on the outside of me. As soon as I hit his bike we both went down. I will take responsibility for that one. I felt like without Eugene there I might have been able to save it, but unfortunately I collected him as well.”

Inured WorldSBK regular, now out of a job with Barni racing Ducati for 2020, Leon Camier was acting as Chaz Davies assistant in Portugal – a rider coach of sorts. He provided a valuable service for Davies that Michael Laverty usually does, when he is not commentating on BT Sport for MotoGP. He was away covering the Brno GP.

“Leon has been a good asset this weekend because he has ridden the bike and he understands very well. He can relate what he sees on track to what he can feed back to the guys in the garage,”

Motorland Aragon next for Chaz and all. They can be like magic words for Davies – Motorland Aragon – as he has a great affinity with it – 12 podiums of which seven were wins. He has posted some truly great rides there, almost no matter which bike he has been on.

“It will be nice to go to Aragon because I have had some good results there in the past and it is a bit of a ground zero for us,” said Davies. “We have a test there later this week as well. I think that will be a quite important couple of days for us to not only prepare for the race but also our direction with the bike.

“I feel like I know how a bike should work around Aragon. It is a relatively flat circuit, and unlike here the undulations and the bumps throw up different challenges, so there is a lot to get right. Aragon is a little bit like Jerez, where, yes, there are elevation changes but it is not dramatic like here.

“There are a couple of bumps but not dramatic like here. I feel Aragon is a good place for us to try and work on our set-up. I have a good record there so it comes at a good time.”

Davies affirmed that they are re-thinking things, even when his bike works it really works. “I am trying,” he said. “It has been a year and a half and I am still trying with this thing. Try to use what we are learning and put it to good use for the next time. Slowly, slowly we are getting places. But here is a bit of a tough track for us, I feel, and I think Scott will confirm that. In the end it is just an excuse, isn’t it? We need to be on the money everywhere and we are not.”

Davies is not complaining about the team going in one direction and him going in the other, saying, “I feel they are pretty open. Both sides. I am open to listen to them and they are open to listen to me. It is finding exactly what is going to elevate us to up our game a little bit.

” Again, our pace was OK today; the damage was done early on as a result of not being able to move forward on the grid for the Superpole race. But our pace was all right, podium pace. I put a bit of time back on Scott and van der Mark but I ran out of laps again.”