Aruba.it rider back on podium at Laguna Seca but can’t quite match Rea in Race 1
“Pole, fastest lap, P2… I got all the trophies except the big one!”. Chaz Davies loaded himself with accolades at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, but the top prize ultimately eluded the Welshman. The Race 1 polesitter – only the sixth time he’s topped qualifying in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship – led during six full laps and was showing scorching speed around the Californian track before a small mistake going into turn 8 pushed him back into second place.
Nonetheless, it was the closest the Ducati rider has come to his early season form, looking like the man to beat for the first time in several rounds. If today’s rhythm was a sign of things to come, win three of 2018 could be just around the corner.
“From where I was sat, I did all I could”, Davies admitted after the race. “I tried to keep with Johnny in the last laps, but I didn’t quite have the pace to go with him, I was just losing a tenth here, a tenth there… I thought I’d just try and stay mistake-free and hope that he would make mistakes. He made a couple at the Corkscrew, but not enough for me to make any inroads on the gap”.
The early laps by the Welshman were extraordinary however, with Davies’ second lap two tenths of a second faster than Rea’s best. Even the man himself was left astonished: “I tried to do some damage early one. I really surprised myself with the lap time, 1’23.0. For these sort of temperatures, it’s quite a fast lap at Laguna”.
Will his return to the top of the rostrum come as early as Race 2, tomorrow? Perhaps, but the Welshman realises that he faces an uphill battle, starting from row three: “That’s one of the tough things at Laguna, passing, and starting from the third row is going to be a tricky one, but we’ve made it work from there before and I’m sure we can do it again”.
Can Davies claim top spot tomorrow in Race 2? Find out from 14:00 local time (21:00 GMT) LIVE on the WorldSBK VideoPass.