Chaz Davies had kept his cards close to his chest, prior to Race 1 in Germany at the Lausitzring. Starting from the second row of the grid the Ducati rider stormed into second at the first corner and into the lead on Lap 2.
For that point onwards he controlled the race with a well judged ride that showed remarkable consistency.
Grinding out fast lap after fast lap, he turned the screws on Jonathan Rea, until ultimately the Kawasaki rider had to concede the race, and allowed Davies to cruise to the finish line.
For Rea, the 20 points allowed him to extend his championship lead over Tom Sykes, but it was a hard fought and well earned podium.
“In the beginning and middle parts of the race, I felt I had the pace to be with Chaz,” said Davies. “I just tried to say stay there as long as I could and hope that the gap would open up behind to Tom.”
“I started to suffer with the right-hand side of my rear tire, and it was a struggle to make the lap times. Through some of the right-handers, I felt on ice a little bit. I just had to manage my own race.”
“When Chaz was eking out a gap, there was nothing I could do to win. So, I put all my effort into keeping a solid rhythm, and preserving the tire for the last laps. Until we all put our heads together and look at the data, we will not really know if we chose the correct rear tire option today.”
That rear tire choice centered on using the softer compound SC0 tire. It was a decision that surprised many, given the low track temperatures of 32°C. Typically in WorldSBK, the harder Pirelli is used in cool conditions, and the softer tire in the heat.
The Lausitzring was on the edge of the temperature range for the soft tire though, with one engineer saying, “if track temperature was four or five degrees warmer we would have used the softer tire. As it was I think it was a risky move to use the compound so we opted for the safer choice.”
That safe choice was also used by Davies, and ultimately it proved to be a key part of his arsenal in the race. The Welsh rider rode superbly, and while the circuit was underwater yesterday, after a heavy storm, it was Davies who was riding the crest of a wave today.
“I found myself in a good position in the early laps,” said the victor. “When I took the lead, I just tried to set my pace without looking at the lap times, and we came out on top.”
“The rhythm was good, but there is still room for improvement ahead of Race 2. We’ll start from 9th position, but I think this track offers opportunities for overtaking, and we’ve worked on our starts recently, finding more consistency, so I’m in for another interesting race.”