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Who Is Chaz Davies, And Why Is He So Fast?

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Ducati’s Chaz Davies won 11 races this year in WSB, more than anyone else. He also won the final six races in a row… the first rider to do so in WSB since Troy Bayliss a decade ago. Davies is fast, no doubt, keeping in mind that he’s beating riders like Jonathan Rea, the guy who just won back-to-back WSB championships aboard the superb Kawasaki Superbike.

Davies is a 29-year-old from the UK, and he has a wealth of experience on both 2 stroke and 4 stroke race machinery. He started riding at a high level at a very young age. At 12 years, he gained special permission to ride in the Aprilia Challenge 125cc championship. He continued to be the youngest rider in most classes he entered, and was the youngest-ever winner of a British Championship race at 14 years old.

Still an early teen, Davies went to Spain to contest the national 125cc championship and then moved to the 125cc GP championship, where he rode for several years on relatively uncompetitive machinery, yet still impressed. After a stint in AMA, he had the chance to ride at the MotoGP level substituting for injured Alex Hoffman in 2007 on a Ducati, and again impressed for someone who did not race MotoGP full time.

Ducati MotoGP offered Davies a test rider role in 2008, but he turned it down and went back to the US where he became the first rider from the UK to win the prestigious Daytona 200.

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He began racing World Supersport in 2009 for Triumph and was consistently their fastest rider until he switched to a more competitive Yamaha in 2011. Davies then took the 2011 World Supersport title after eight podiums and six wins.

Moving to WSB in 2012, Davies found the podium four times as a rookie … winning one race. It wasn’t until he got on a Ducati, however, that he looked like a potential champion, and this year he finished as the fastest rider on track. Despite taking the most wins this year, Davies had to settle for 3rd place in the championship (losing out to Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes by just two points).

Kawasaki ended up with the top two spots this year, but Davies scored the most points in the second half of the season as his Ducati rounded into form to take on the awesome Kawasaki Superbike, and its talented duo of WSB champions, Rea and Sykes.

Davies is perhaps too old to switch to MotoGP at this point, but he has to be one of the favorites to take the WSB title next year when he again rides with full Ducati factory support.


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30 Comments

  1. downgoesfraser says:

    He has been around long enough that his success should not really be a surprise. Raising the Db limit in WSBK seemed to have helped Ducati as they have been way more competetive since the addition of the dual output exhaust.

    • Dave says:

      It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the “big” rules in WSBK vs. AMA vs. BSBK.

      I watched a round of the British Superbike championship where two guys on Honda dropped and ran away from their competitors on Ducatis and Kawasakis. It’d be hard to imagine that happening in AMA or WSBK.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        That would be interesting to know.

        I’ve never watched a BSB race, but I hear it is a pretty exiting series. I understand the championship for 4 of the last 6 season came down to the last race.

        • Dave says:

          I have a channel that just popped up in my assortment this year that gets BSB and some cycling and since my DVR is programmed to pick up motorcycling, it’s been recording them.

          So far, the tracks have been tighter and narrower than we’re used to seeing in WSBK & MotoGP, with much lower top speeds.

  2. Motorhead says:

    Headline promised to tell us why he is so fast. So why is he? Because he started riding so young? Lots of people start riding young. What’s the answer? Thank you.

    • VLJ says:

      Read it again. The headline merely posed the questions. It didn’t promise answers.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Great experience on GP level 2 strokes combined with great experience and success on 4 strokes (he came to the US and won our Daytona 200 at 22 years of age – then won a World Supersport crown before his recent WSB success). I can’t think of too many people with that breadth of experience. Ask Nicky Hayden how fast Rea and Sykes are on the Kawasakis this year. Davies has been smoking them lately. So his speed boils down to a combination of talent and experience.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: What’s the answer?

      A: the Law of NATCORK (No Amount of Talent Can Overcome Recalcitrant Kit).

      translation: it’s the 30 Man BOFFIN ARMY. ring up Bologna and ask for the P/N’s for those forks, that exhaust, and that MotoGP derived TC and all’s you’ll get is the exhaust. the rest of the kit…? (crickets)

      • Tom R says:

        I need a translation for the translation.

        • mickey says:

          Lol.. His bike isnt trick enough and the factory wont give him the trick parts to make it competitve in MotoGP

        • Tim C says:

          Translation: Once again Normie here wades in to dismiss rider talent/skill as any part of the equation.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Once again Normie here wades in to dismiss rider talent/skill”

            once again various and sundry laymen caught up with “human achievement” overlook the $1/4 million dollars worth of kit he’s riding IS…

            (wait for it)

            Human Achievement.

      • DaveA says:

        There were 3 Ducatis in World Superbike that were essentially identical; the two Aruba.IT factory bikes of course, and the Barni Racing bike of Javier Fores.

        This past season, all three of them combined for 23 podiums, and 11 wins. Of those, 17 podiums and all 11 wins were Chaz Davies.

        Please tell us more about how it’s just because of the parts.

  3. proheli says:

    Would Davies really come in and take a championship away from MM or VR or JL? Then why bother. I’m sure it would be a great experience for Chaz, but that doesn’t have anything to do with anything. He hasn’t even won WSB yet. Not being critical, just stating some obvious out-points. Good luck to him.

    • Scott says:

      Yes, nobody should bother going to MotoGP unless we know for sure they can beat those guys.

      When you say it out loud, it sounds kinda… well, y’know.

    • DaveA says:

      You might notice that VR has yet to “take a championship away” from MM. I agree that you weren’t being critical, but nothing in that post contains what anyone would refer to as a ‘point.’

  4. Brinskee says:

    Rossi is one of a kind, has so much early experience to bud upon, and is probably at the very tail end of his competitiveness.

    • mickey says:

      Well at 29, this guy is 8 years younger than Rossi and sounds like he has been a special rider since age 12. One would think the goal of any high caliber racer would be to race in the premier motorcycle class against the best in the world, rather than routinly beating a bunch of guys incapable of competing in MotoGP.

      • Dirck Edge says:

        I think Chaz could be competitive in MotoGP. Nicky Hayden would undoubtedly agree, since he has ridden with him in WSB all year. The problem was pointed out by Dave. Getting a competitive bike means everything in MotoGP, and you don’t start with the best bike when you move over from WSB at 29. A little late to start “working your way up” in my opinion, but the guy beats Johnny Rea lately, so he certainly has the skill.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Getting a competitive bike means everything in MotoGP”

          fullstop. this is correct as we are neither campaigning push bikes, nor are we “shooting for gold” in Olympic Track and Field.

          see Wikipedia entry for Ben Spies.

          • DaveA says:

            NormG…always the one to err on the side of removing all doubt.

            Ben Spies suffered debilitating shoulder injuries and wasn’t able to effectively steer or brake (these are important when racing in case you didn’t know that), and was forced out due only to that. When he first arrived, he was alien-fast, then was stopped by multiple ridiculous mechanical issues, then got hurt.

  5. mickey says:

    Why is he too old for MotoGP considering Rossi is 37 and still winning?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I don’t think he is too old either. There is plenty of young talent in the pipeline. Someone could give Davies a shot. Even if all you can get are three or four good years out of him before his reflexes fade (I’m sure he’s got plenty left in him), there will be a number of guys available to take his place.

      • Dave says:

        Rossi is a poor example. He is special in a way that only comes along every few generations.

        Chaz is too old because he’d likely find himself on a low-rung satellite team, fighting for scraps, while the 20 year old phenoms were being groomed on the 2nd tier (Tech 3, NCR, etc.) machinery that he would need to be competitive. See Loris Baz.

        Instead of spending those 3-4 years anonymously climbing the motoGP ladder for a small paycheck, he could be fighting for the WSBK title for a larger one.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I’m not saying he should go to MotoGP, but I do think he has the potential to be competitive there on the right machine. And I think he would be competitive for a long time.

        • Mean Chuck says:

          The last MotoGP race was won by a guy on a satellite bike who moved to that class from WSBK at 26.

          • Dave says:

            The difference in their records should tell you all you need to know about why Cal is in MotoGP for 5 years now.

            Cal was successful through the years that Chaz toiled on 125’s & 250’s plus hi stint in the AMA.