Aruba.it Ducati World Superbike rider Chaz Davies has expressed his desire to switch to the MotoGP World Championship next season should he win the title this year.
Davies is no stranger to grand prix racing, competing in the 125cc and 250cc classes from 2002 through to 2006 on an Aprilia and a Honda. The Welshman also made three premier class outings in 2007 with Pramac Ducati as Alex Hoffman’s replacement at Laguna Seca, Phillip Island and Sepang, managing a best finish of 16th on his debut.
The Ducati rider has been a fixture of the WorldSBK grid since 2012, switching to the Italian manufacturer in 2014. Tallying up 16 wins with the Bologna-based outfit, the 2011 World Supersport champion has finished the last two seasons second and third in the standings.
The Knighton native is adamant that he is the best rider in WorldSBK at the moment, and wants to challenge himself against the very best in MotoGP now. Having just turned 30, he feels the time is right to pursue a switch to the pinnacle of motorcycle racing.
“If I reach my goal of becoming Superbike world champion, I think that now is the perfect time to go to MotoGP because I am nearly 30 years old,” Davies said to motorsport.com.
“I don’t want to leave it too late and obviously an important thing for me as a rider is you want to challenge yourself and I feel like I’m the fastest rider in Superbike. The next challenge is the riders of MotoGP.
“Maybe I’m shit (compared to them), I don’t know, we’ll see. Everybody looks at the young guys in MotoGP, but I know I am a much better rider than I was even two years ago, let alone five or 10 years ago. I’d love the opportunity and I think these years in my career are the best time.”
Davies was set to replace Andrea Iannone at Ducati whilst the Italian recovered from a neck injury towards the end of last season, but his run of wins in WorldSBK put a halt to that.
However, Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti has said that Davies will get a test day on the factory Desmosedici at some point this season.
“Chaz would like to do a full test where he has one day to fully experience the bike and make all the adjustments he needs,” Ciabatti said to British outlet MCN last year.
“We’ll try and find that possibility, because we are curious to do it. We just need to find a time in the season to do it with the minimum of risks, because next year we have a very important mission and a real chance of being title contenders (in WorldSBK) if we can maintain the momentum.”
The Ducati rider wouldn’t be the first high profile name from WorldSBK to appear on the grand prix grid in recent years. Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz joined MotoGP in 2015, whilst Alex Lowes, Leon Camier and Jonathan Rea were drafted in as replacement riders during the 2016, 2014 and 2012 seasons respectively.
Having just pulled the wraps off of their 2017 Panigale R, Davies will begin the hunt for Ducati’s first WorldSBK title since 2011 in two weeks’ time in Australia.