… | Why Chaz Davies WorldSBK Bridesmaid Will Remain A Great

Chaz Davies has announced his retirement from motorsport at the still easy age of 34 after deciding his final injury would be his last in a long career spanning two decades.

>Have you ever wondered what technology from MotoGP is trickling down onto racing bikes, click here and you will see

Although the Welshman has been remembered – wrongly – as the driver who failed to fully loosen Jonathan Rea’s iron grip in the WorldSBK Championship and was runner-up in the Ulsterman three times, he ends his career as one of the most successful statistically, ever at one Having participated in the competition.

In fact, it took Davies a long time to find his way onto the world stage and take a less conventional US-centric path to the top than most that nonetheless earned him a reputation as a driver with potential racing with the best in the early years right opportunity.

It’s easy to forget now, but Davies competed in MotoGP and made three surprise starts with Pramac Ducati in the 2007 season at the age of just 20.

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This opportunity was borne by a chance replacement mission at Laguna Seca. Davies earned the bid by participating in the US AMA Supersport Championship, which he joined after four solid seasons in the 125 / 250GP World Championship, finishing 13th overall in the latter in 2005.

>Have you ever wondered what technology from MotoGP is trickling down onto racing bikes, click here and you will see

This outing at Laguna Seca was praised for its quick adaptation, which earned him two more appearances on the Desmoscedici at the end of the season and qualified within a second from his regular teammate and race winner Alex Barros.

MotoGP corner leads to WorldSSP glory

While this didn’t spark interest from MotoGP teams thereafter, Davies’ profile grew nonetheless, which along with a crowning victory at the Daytona 200 caught the attention of WorldSSP teams, particularly Triumph that gave him a chance at the end of the 2009 season .

He finished fourth on his Imola debut and started a full 2010 season that earned four podiums on the way to fourth overall, despite the apparent lack of power against the might of Honda and Kawasaki with its three-cylinder engine.

A move to Yamaha machines the following year, however, made Davies the rider to beat with six wins. He stormed to a first world title and thus to promotion to the WorldSBK championship with the same ParkinGO MTC Racing team on board an Aprilia RSV4.

After a humble start in life on bigger machines, Davies got going in the middle of the season and took his first podium at Aragon before taking an excellent first win at the Nürburgring.

This earned him a move to the semi-factory-backed GoldBet BMW team, where three more wins caught the attention of Ducati, who were preparing themselves for a concerted title attack after trying to get the most out of the 1199 Panigale R.

Bridesmaid, never the WorldSBK bride with Ducati

The relationship would bring Davies’ best years in motorsport as he emerged as the only constant driver to hold Rea and Kawasaki accountable, even if the combination of the Ulsterman on the ZX-10RR would prove incredibly difficult to unstable.

Still, he was a regular winner and would come very close at the end of the year in 2016 after a streak of seven wins from eight races. Ironically, although he was closer to Rea in terms of points, he finished third in the overall standings after three poorly timed DNFs in the middle of the year, with Davies also just behind Tom Sykes.

However, Davies’ fortunes dwindled in 2019 due to the company’s move to V4 machines with its latest generation of superbikes, a move that was not aided by the initial overwhelming success of Alvaro Bautista, even if it was Davies at the end of the year who it was probably the faster of the two.

He had similar problems in 2020, however, as Scott Redding’s arrival locked Davies on a second driver role, which ultimately led Ducati to opt for youth over experience with the promotion of Michael Ruben Rinaldi in 2021.

Davies went the other way with GoEleven Ducati, but with qualifying proving to be a persistent problem for the Welshman since switching to a more compact Superpole format, he’s struggled to get strong results. After his year was already handicapped by a prolonged shoulder injury in an accident in Misano, his accident in Barcelona – which resulted in two broken ribs – has resulted in his retirement.

Despite failing to achieve the WorldSBK title, Davies ended his career with a remarkable record of 32 wins and 99 podiums in ten seasons.

This puts Davies in seventh place in the all-time list in terms of race wins – one of only two in the top ten who did not win the title alongside Noriyuki Haga – and ahead of greats like Colin Edwards and Doug Poland.