The Welshman had a successful return to the podium in Race 1 but the remainder of the weekend proved difficult for the reigning runner-up!
From the highs of the Portimao podium on Saturday to the depths of despair and despondency on Sunday, Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) had a mixed weekend at the undulating Portuguese circuit. A second in Race 1 on Saturday saw Davies line-up for the Tissot Superpole Race ready to go in search of a fifth consecutive podium – which would’ve been the first time he’s achieved that since between Race 1 at Buriram and Race 1 at Assen last season.
Instead however, Davies failed to improve on his starting position in the Tissot Superpole Race, leaving him down in fourteenth on the grid for Race 2. Mechanical gremlins would strike the Welshman in the second full-distance outing, although his pluckiness and determination saw him nurse the bike back in 16th place.
Speaking about the end to his weekend, Davies stated: “I was a bit disappointed with the Tissot Superpole Race, I just think we took wrong turns with the bike, as it didn’t give me the same feedback as Saturday; in hindsight, we probably should’ve stuck with what we already had. We had a gear-shifter issue in Race 2, something went wrong with the mechanism. It broke on Lap 10 or 12 and from then on, I was just being as gentle as I could with it. We tried to improve the bike but went the wrong direction, which seems quite easy to do.”
Davies’ mixed weekend sees him remain in the battle for third in the championship, although he is now 45 points behind Lowes compared to the 36 he trailed by coming into the round. However, with podium pace and more consistency currently than at the beginning of the season, Davies will hope to improve his package in the remainder of 2019, to start strong in 2020.
“It is clear to see that the speed of the bike is helping Alvaro achieve great results,” said Davies. “I feel like every other Ducati is struggling quite a lot. I was pleasantly surprised on Saturday, but we made some small changes for Sunday, and it seems quite sensitive to them. We need to work, because it was hard to ride around here, but there’s definitely enough scope to be able to transform this bike. There are some very clever people in Bologna who I hope can help us out, as on tracks like Portimao, it is really tough to ride.”
Will the 32-year-old be able to climb back up the order and fight for the podium positions again in France?