World Superbikes: Rejuvenated Chaz Davies ready for restart

By Ceri Coleman-PhillipsBBC Sport Wales
Chaz Davies
Chaz Davies has topped the podium on three occasions on the Spanish circuit of Jerez

Welsh racer Chaz Davies says he feels "rejuvenated" ahead of the restart of the World Superbike season.

The 33-year-old will be back on board his Ducati for the second round in Jerez, five months after the first took place on Phillip Island.

And despite no crowds and coronavirus regulations, Davies says "it's an opportunity to get back to what we know and love".

He is eighth in the championship, with fellow Brit Alex Lowes on top.

Davies spent lockdown at his Andorran home, where he and his wife Hatty welcomed the arrival of a new baby.

"This is our first child and of all the bad that's come with the coronavirus, for us personally it's one positive to take from the whole situation," the 2011 World Supersport champion told BBC Sport Wales.

"With our calendar it's not something you can guarantee I would normally be around for."

And despite the demands of a newborn, Davies, like a well-revved machine, is raring to go.

"You could think I'd be sat on the sofa with my daughter, but so far the focus has been what it needs to be, I've been training well and I'm pretty happy with how I feel."

He has been testing the modifications on his Panigale VR 4 in recent weeks, an exercise he admits to not being a huge fan of.

Chaz Davies
Davies has been a Ducati rider since 2014 and is in discussions about his future with the Italian manufacturer

"I've never been a strong tester or qualifier. If my career had to be based on those two things I wouldn't have got very far.

"A lot of people put a lot of importance on testing but testing doesn't pay points and I've always played the long game with a view to racing.

"It's the 25 laps when there's something at the end of it, points on the line, and a championship to be won or lost. That's what gets me going rather than one lap of a test that means nothing."

World Superbikes is the latest sport to return amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but three rounds have been cancelled as a precaution.

They include Donington Park, the first time there will be no UK round in the championship's history.

The Dutch Round at the TT Circuit Assen and the Qatar Round at the Losail International Circuit will also not go ahead.

"From the organisation point of view, it's pretty strict," said Davies, "we've all had to sign documents."

But he adds that riders have been given special privileges given the heat on the track in Jerez.

"When we get back from a session or a race, everybody has to wear the masks, but in that moment we don't because it's 40 degrees down there and you have to catch your breath for a minute.

"But if you're just milling around we should be wearing a mask."

Limited numbers are allowed into the track and there will be no spectators.

"Closed doors will be a bit strange," Davies admitted, "but it is what it is, we're lucky just to be racing again.

"I think the organisation have done a really good and hard job to get these races on.

"For us it's an opportunity to get back to what we know and love, it's something I'm looking forward to regardless if there's any spectators or not.

"It's important to get some good solid points on the board this weekend and build on what we did at Phillip Island."