With an exceptional season finale, Chaz Davies brought his personal tally to 11 race wins, even beating twice world champion Johnny Rea who reached the top step of the podium on 9 occasions.
These kind of numbers see Ducati's #7 rider slot into standings dominated by the likes of Carl Fogarty, Doug Polen, Neil Hodgson, Colin Edwards, Troy Bayliss and Ben Spies.
Eleven wins but particularly five double wins, a significant feat. When everything was working well with his Panigale, the Welshman was able to show his full potential, regardless of the type of riding that any given track would necessitate. Chaz himself explains just how he and the Borgo Panigale team were able to achieve such a high level of performance: “by working hard with the technicians and engineers; our rivals improved a great deal during the season and we kept up. The engine and electronics took some steps forward in terms of evolution but the main progress came from working on the geometry of the frame, perfectly adapting it to my riding”.
Do you think the Panigale needs to be ridden with a stop and go style?
“No, I don't think so. The bike can be adapted depending personal requirements. For example, if I need a style that cracks the turns, I can have that. When I need to be fast through the corner, I am able to do that. Our strong point, right now, is when the bike is mid-turn and our frame can adapt to any need. Together we've put together a complete package”.
Next year you'll be aiming for the title of course…
“Yes, definitely. The final part of this year's championship has motivated me even further, the bike has now reached an excellent level of performance and we have to continue in this vein. It won't be easy, quite the opposite. Our rivals will continue to improve, some teams will even have new bikes. We'll continue on exactly as we have finished the 2016 season, because next year will be a real challenge for everyone”.
Have you planned a Desmosedici GP test with Ducati?
“We haven't fixed a date or definite place for a test with the MotoGP team yet. I'd really like to test the MotoGP though and we've talking about it at the factory. The problem is that it's not easy to find a perfect time to carry out a test. Next year the team's focus will be 110% on Jorge Lorenzo, my tests will the bike will be a second priority, also because my schedule isn't compatible with that of the MotoGP and they will be really busy. It won't be easy to find a good time but we hope to find a date that works for everyone”.
Davies, as well as having competed in the 125 and 250 championships with Honda and Aprilia, has also raced in MotoGP with the Ducati Pramac team in 2007, at the Laguna Seca, Phillip Island and Malaysian rounds. The 29-year old therefore has a wealth of experience across every type of bike and is able to adapt to any change.
If he's able to win the SBK title, the 2011 Supersport champion with the Yamaha R6 already know what he'd do: “if I were able to win the SBK title in 2017, my next goal would be to move to MotoGP, definitely. Right now, it's too easy to talk about it, but I'm ambitious, every year I'm riding better, I always give 100% and this could be the right time to test a MotoGP. I hope an opportunity comes along, and I've always said that it would be a waste of time to go to that championship on a bike that isn't factory. It's important to start in the best possible way, I tested a private bike years ago and it was very difficult. I've improved as a rider and don't want to race with a bike that can't fight at the front. To do well in MotoGP you need a factory bike. We'll see what happened, for now I'm focusing on my target, which is the SBK”.