After a summer plagued by a collarbone injury, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) returned to the podium for the first time since Misano Race 1 on Sunday with a second-place finish at the Acerbis French Round.
“It feels like it’s been a long few months, a difficult few months since Misano, we were on the box there in the first race, second race didn’t quite go to plan and then we had a tough summer with injuries and whatnot, I just started getting back on my feet and then we were setback again, injuring the same collarbone,” explained a relieved Davies, who wasn’t sure that a podium would be possible at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours after Race 1.
“And here we are, a couple of races later and on the box so really really happy. Magny-Cours is definitely not particularly friendly for such an injury because there’s such hard-braking areas here and yeah, you know it’s there put it that way. So it makes it really special to be here on the podium, especially after yesterday. That was a little bit of a tough race, I didn’t know if a podium would be possible.”
The Welshman got a great launch from the middle of the front row and set about creating a gap at the front, something that he had planned before the lights went out: “I thought if I could get a good start and run my own pace for a little bit then it might be, and that’s exactly what I did. I got a good start and then dropped the hammer for as long as I could.”
But it wasn’t long before Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had latched himself onto the tailpipes of Davies’ Ducati, but the latter put up a formidable fight to keep Northern Irishman behind him for as long as possible: “That was the idea, I knew as soon as he got a little bit of clean air that he’d probably be able to put some distance into me so I just tried to make life a little bit difficult for him.
“I wasn’t particularly doing anything different, I wasn’t trying to defend or anything like that I just made sure I hit my marks so if he was going to come by then it would be on the limit for him as well as me. And that turned out to be right, he made a few mistakes and ran out a bit wide, I was able to cut back on the inside but unfortunately, he got up the inside of me and managed to put a few good corners together and then we’ve seen his pace is a little bit of a cut above generally. We lack a little bit of efficiency behind, getting the thing turned and picked up but anyway, very very happy, we weren’t too far off in the end.”
A P2 was a nice little boost for the 31-year-old ahead of the last two rounds of the season in Argentina and Qatar. Two races that Davies is certainly looking forward to: “Yeah I’m really looking forward to these last two races because we’ve obviously never been to the Argentina track before, it’ll be a new one for everybody which is always an interesting one. Kind of thankfully for me it’s a left-handed track, it looks quite flowy, there’s a few heavy braking areas but they are all on the left-hand side which is definitely going to help the way I feel.”
Can we expect to see Davies standing on the top step at least one more time before the 2018 season draws to a close? Time will tell, but you can watch the WorldSBK riders go into battle for the final two rounds of the season on WorldSBK VideoPass!