The main favourite for the two races taking place this weekend at Imola is definitely Chaz Davies. The Welsh Ducati rider has been dominating the Italian Round in both 2016 and 2017 and of course he hopes to achieve the same result this year.
We interviewed Chaz about his expectation for this year’s Imola races and also about the future. Here’s what he said.
You’ve been unbeaten at Imola for 4 races. Do you head to this round feeling the favourite, despite the rule changes?
Yes, I would probably say so. I think I’ll make an effort, because I’m looking at me to be the rider to beat. You know, every weekend is different, every year is different…But I hope to achieve the same result. As usual I will get the best out of myself and of the package. We’ve done that in the last two years and if I can do it this year, then I will be very competitive again.
What’s your secret? Why are you so fast at Imola?
I think that the bike works very well here, my setup and my style suit this track. There are a lot of braking areas including four or five spots of hard-braking, so I think it really suits my riding style. Then the fact we’re very close to Bologna and we have a lot of Ducati supporters at the track makes it special. I feel the buzz here when I race and this is a very nice feeling. I’ve never felt pressure on me, I just enjoy riding here.
Ducati won at least one race at all the first three rounds (Phillip Island, Thai and Aragon), but at Assen Kawasaki came back to the front and also Yamaha seems to be a strong competitor: is there any specific reason?
There’s no specific reason. I think that the goal is always to score the maximum points as you can. Assen has always been very difficult for us, but Imola has always been good.
May Yamaha be as competitive as in the Netherlands?
I don’t know. It was a combination of factors: they’ve been working there and also their riders. It’s a good track for them. You know, it depends on the characteristics of the bike and of the track. I think it will remain a case of that.
Imola is always a big party for the crowd: if you were one of them, in which area of the track would you sit to watch the race?
I would probably go to Rivazza, because you can see those two corners and the entry of the chicane and there’s also a big screen to watch the whole races. Many people sit there…It’s wonderful!
The Rivazza, the long right-hander downhill: is it the most difficult corner of the season?
I think the whole Imola track is very particular, especially the Rivazza: to be braking on the angle downhill like that, so steep, is somethign different e don’t experience on any other circuit. You have to be a little bit careful, because there you can lock the front quite easily. So yes, it’s unique.
What do you think of Leon Haslam? Do you believe he can challenge the top riders?
Yes, I think he probably will. He’s here with a good bike and high motivation and he’s already proved that he can fight for the win. I don’t know whether he can do it in this case, but never say never. He has a lot of experience and he knows both the circuits and the bike very well and I think he will be very competitive especially at Donington.
What about the future? Will you stay in Superbike? Or you have some proposals from MotoGP?
I think my future is here in Superbike, but we haven’t discussed about it yet. I think the team will be here for the next couple of seasons, also with the new bike, which looks very interesting. There are a lot of riders who could join the team for next year. First of all we wait for Ducati to say to us what’s their position, then we’ll see how I feel into their plans.