Davies: Ducati not putting enough effort into WSBK programme

Chaz Davies feels Ducati didn’t put enough effort into its World Superbike programme over the winter following a lacklustre showing in the opening race of 2021 at Aragon.

Ducati has been the main challenger to the all-conquering Kawasaki squad since it debuted the Panigale V4 R in 2019, finishing just one point behind the Japanese marque in last year's standings as Scott Redding and Davies finished second and third behind Jonathan Rea in the riders' classification.

Davies, a 32-time WSBK race winner, was moved out of the Ducati's factory team at the end of last season to make way for Michael Ruben Rinaldi, but has remained within the Italian marque's fold after joining the GoEleven customer team.

At Aragon, a track where Ducati has won at least one race in each of the last six seasons, Redding was the marque's top finisher in fourth ahead of Davies in Race 1 - as Rea and Alex Lowes completed a 1-2 finish for Kawasaki ahead of the Yamaha of Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Asked about Ducati missing out on a rostrum result at a track where it has historically been strong, WSBK veteran Davies said he had foreseen a decline in its form over the winter.

"Yeah, it's not great is it," said the 34-year-old. "We should be on the podium here for sure, but it looks like the other guys have worked very hard and in different areas. 

"We've been possibly left behind in some areas. But that's now, I saw it coming. I've been seeing it coming for a while. We need to discuss with them and what their plan is to improve."

Asked if Ducati can fix the problems with its V4 R, Davies added: "Yeah, I'm pretty confident it could be solved, but it takes brass and commitment."

Pressed further if Ducati was lacking commitment to WSBK, he said: "I don’t know, somebody else can answer that question.

"I just think that our competitors are very tough and are working hard and I’m following the progress of where we are, and quite honestly I didn’t see a big step forward this winter.

"It’s hard to sit here today that we have everything that we need when we don’t have anything different to end of last year."

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Ducati has seen a revival in its fortunes in MotoGP this year, with Jack Miller winning the last two races at Jerez and Le Mans to put it at the top of the manufacturers' standings.

Davies was coy when asked if there were any parallels between Ducati's contrasting results in MotoGP and WSBK at the start of this year, but added that the V4 R bike is as "good as the effort that's put into it."

"I don't think it would take much here in this paddock to step forward," said Davies. "But it's not like we need 50/50 attention from [Moto]GP and Superbikes because I know that's impossible, but we need something to make a difference.

"Don't for a moment doubt the bike isn't capable because 100% the V4 R is a fantastic bike, but it's only as good as the effort that's put into it and sometimes we do struggle. 

"We have these weak races and it happened last year quite a lot where you can be amazing one day but the next day it's not... or the next weekend we don't quite have that stability the others have. It's difficult to understand what is the way to battle Kawasaki every weekend."

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