Chaz Davies etched his name into Ducati lore by once again dominating the Italian manufacturers home round at Imola.
With hundreds of guests on site to see it, Davies picked his way through the pack in Race 2 from ninth on the grid, to take the lead at half-distance from Tom Sykes, and ease his way to what would become a comfortable victory.
The Welshman was in relaxed form all weekend, and afterwards said that “this was a weekend that our bike was the best bike out there, and it was up to us to use that to its full potential.”
Davies certainly did that as he wrapped up his third win of the 2017 campaign and moved back to second in the standings.
Jonathan Rea continues to lead those standings, and despite losing out to Davies in both races, the Northern Irishman managed to extend his championship lead over the course of the weekend. Rea now holds a 74 point advantage.
“I’m happy because I don’t think I could have been much better than second in Race 2,” said Rea. “It was a good race and we halved the gap to Chaz on Race 1, so that’s a positive, but unfortunately I made a huge mistake on Lap 1 going through one of the chicanes; I went over the gravel and that lost all my track position.”
“All the work I’d done on that first out lap was wasted, and when Chaz went through on Tom, I got stuck behind Tom and the lap time dropped for me.”
“We changed the bike between Race 1 and 2 found some positives, but all in all to leave Imola with 40 points and increase the championship lead is a good weekend at one of our not-so-strongest tracks.”
For Davies, the goal all weekend was to consolidate his status as the Imola favorite, and he certainly did that. It’s been a challenging season for the Ducati rider, with crashes in Thailand and Aragon marring his scoresheet, and a mechanical failure at Assen leaving him with a mountain to climb in the championship.
“Up to this point in the season, we’ve had a mixed bag,” admitted Davies. “Our biggest adversaries have come out strong, and this is the first weekend where we feel like we’ve been the benchmark, and where we’ve been able to find a rhythm.”
“From FP2, we were able to find that rhythm and it snowballed from there into the double victory. I just can’t say enough things about how the bike performed around here, it worked superb in both races.”
“We made very little changes to it for Race 2, and although the track conditions were different today it was working equally as well.”
“The second race was quite different to the first because I was a bit lucky for the restart. I messed it up a bit in the first start, but in the restart I got a very very good launch and managed to make a few decisive moves, and then profited from Jonny’s mistake at the chicane.”
“It was them a question of hunting down Tom, he had a really good pace, it was a bit of a grit between the teeth to get past him; but once I did, I just concentrated on setting my pace like we had in practice and it was enough to break away.”