Chaz Davies still sees room for improvement with his Aruba.it Ducati despite setting the pace in Friday practice at Phillip Island. The Welshman carries a six race winning streak into tomorrow’s season opener after his sensational finish to 2016 but Davies says that isn’t on his mind heading into race one in Australia.
Davies set the pace with a 1:30.189 in the morning session, securing his automatic passage through to Superpole 2, and hopes to translate his strong start into a healthy points haul.
“Day one was OK, and I’m happy about our performance. On my best lap I missed a couple of tenths through the last sector; potentially we could have lapped in 1’29, which would have been quite impressive, but we can still improve our race pace. Since the first test session and throughout the whole winter we’ve been methodical, chipping away and trying not to make radical changes to the package. This track is a bit more difficult for us, we had to make a few more adjustments to our base, but we found a better setup today and I hope to be able to further improve tomorrow. People keep mentioning our winning streak at the end of last year, but we’ll take the race as it comes. If there’s an opportunity to win, we’ll go for it. Otherwise, we’ll take as many points as possible. Consistency is the key.”
Marco Melandri will join his team-mate in SP2 after finishing the opening day in fifth spot and the Italian believes Davies and reigning champion Jonathan Rea are the riders to beat.
“This morning, the conditions were trickier than yesterday because it was very windy on track and we had to progressively get reacquainted with the bike. In the afternoon, however, we found the right feeling once again and the Panigale R felt really balanced overall. I did many laps on the same tyre, but not consecutively, so we still don’t know whether we can be as consistent as Davies and Rea over the race distance. Anyway, we tried different tyre options to figure out the best choice for the race, gathering some valuable data. Superpole will be extremely important, then we’ll see what strategy to adopt. I don’t have a specific goal in mind for the race, I just want to go out there and have fun, then we’ll see what comes our way.”