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Davies: "I needed new challenges, in MotoE I start from scratch"

"Deciding to race in MotoE was easy, the hard part was convincing my wife. I'm not here just to participate, but the reality is that I haven't raced in two years and I need to get back in the game."

MotoE: Davies:

At 37 years old, Chaz Davies is about to begin a new chapter in his career, taking part in the eight rounds of the 2024 MotoE World Championship, which will start this weekend in Portimao. It is a new adventure that the Welshman will face with the colors of Stefano Cecconi's Aruba Cloud team, returning to full-time competition after leaving the World SBK grid at the end of 2021 and racing a few rounds in the EWC in the last two years. A new start that Chaz talked about with us, after telling us about his role as coach of the Aruba.it Racing riders.

Why did you decide to start again with a new challenge like MotoE?
"There are several reasons. First of all, I helped develop the bike and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't many days, but I loved the time I spent riding and working with the guys at Ducati, so the first thing I thought was that I would enjoy riding this bike. When I left World Superbike I didn't say I was going to stop racing for good, I kept other doors open, even racing a few Endurance races in the last two years. Plus, a couple of years ago, Stefano had told me that when MotoE switched to Ducati it would be easy for him to decide to land in the class with the Aruba Cloud team, and even though I had more or less retired, I think it was natural to take this first step in the championship together, because we have known each other for 10 years, we have a lot of trust in each other, I know what the people who work here are capable of and the seriousness with which they approach each new challenge. That made the decision very easy."

Was it all that easy?
"The hardest thing was convincing my wife, especially because of the coaching role in SBK, because we are already talking about 10 to 11 races a year, to which we add the MotoE races. We are talking about 20 weekends in a year, from April until about November, in which to be away from home with two small children. That's the hard part, but I love what I do in SBK and I also love riding motorcycles and exploring new things. I think I realize now that I was getting a little bit bored in the last few years in SBK, I was struggling a little bit more and I needed new challenges, which is what the coaching job is giving me and what MotoE will give me even more, which is completely different."

Matteo Ferrari described MotoE as an electric SBK. What do you think about that? Do you agree?
"It is quite different from an SBK, also because all my references with SBK are based on Pirelli and changing tires changes all the parameters in terms of feeling, so you have to throw in the trash all the references you had for 15 years and start again. So my approach is to empty my mind of my past experiences and start from scratch. That said, it's a really fun bike to ride, the electronics controls are sophisticated, and it's a bike you can really push hard and explore the limit with, but without being completely caught off guard. It's a really fun package, partly because Ducati has worked really well with ergonomics, balance and everything else. They know how to build a bike, even if it weighs 50 kilograms more than usual. They have done a very good job and I am convinced there is still room for improvement. I have a lot to learn."

Do you think it will be possible to win as early as the first year, or will you need time?
"I honestly don't feel like putting a number on my placing. Obviously I'm not here just to participate, but the reality is that I haven't raced in two years and I need to get back into the game and focus on things I haven't thought about in two years, or even three if you will, because in the year with Go Eleven I got some good results at the beginning of the season, but then I got injured and I can say I wasn't focused. I have to get back into the game and I know I can do it, but it might take two or three races, because the big problem with MotoE, maybe the most frustrating thing for me, is that track time is very limited. We spent three days on the track for testing, but it was actually not three full days, but only four 15-minute sessions per day, and for half of the session it even rained. If you want to make any changes, you can't go into the pits, put fuel in and go out on the track again, but you have to wait two hours. So it is complicated when you have to learn the tires, the package and configure everything. It is both for me and for the team, because when you come back to the pits, try something different, and come back to the track two minutes later you have a direct comparison and good data, whereas when you stop for two hours, other bikes come on the track and conditions change, it's a different situation."

 

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