With the European leg of the World Superbike season commencing this weekend at Aragon, one rider in particular will be looking forward to this round more than most – Aruba.it-Ducati’s Chaz Davies.
The Welshman has a truly imperious record around the Motorland circuit, having secured victory at the venue for the last three races (two in 2016 and the final race of the 2015 round). When he hasn’t managed to take the victory, Davies has not finished outside of the top five in any of the six races between 2014-16 and done the double in 2013 on the Goldbet BMW. As such, it came as no surprise to anyone when Davies announced that he would use this weekend to “reset” his campaign.
The 2017 campaign has not been a disaster so far, by any stretch of the imagination. Davies heads into the third round of the World Superbike championship in second place having scored 70 points and three podium finishes from the Australian and Thai rounds. Although he is a distant second – some 30 points behind Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea – in the championship, a brace of wins at Aragon will go a long way to cancelling out that deficit.
Indeed, it is hard to look beyond the possibility of Davies securing another brace of victories at the circuit. As with its MotoGP counterpart, the Ducati Panigale superbike comes into its own when given a chance to demonstrate its straight-line speed, although Davies’ weight does have a negative effect on him. With its combination of long straights and numerous heavy braking and acceleration zones, the Motorland venue is therefore a perfect place for the Ducati to shine.
Given this, it can be expected that we may witness the first in-house battle for top honours between Davies and team-mate Marco Melandri. The Italian has secured two rostrums from the opening flyaway races, but is still very much adapting to the demands of the Superbike setup. Davies, has been with the outfit for since the 2014 season and, as such, knows the machine inside and out. A factor that will surely come to the fore should the two fight it out in the final laps.
Eddie Hocknull @EddieHocknull