CHAZ Davies has insisted changes to the World Superbike Championship (WSBK) format will not undermine his bid to win the 2017 title.
The Presteigne ace ended third in the 2016 final rankings with a remarkable 11 race wins for Ducati just not enough to overcome champion Jon Rea and second placed Tom Skyes of Kawasaki.
However changes to the format, namely to the starting grid composition, have been criticised by the Kawasaki pair as well as a host of other riders.
The new regulations will see race one’s top nine finishing riders drop down the starting grid for race two in a bid to provide more dramatic and unpredictable racing.
However concerns were immediately signalled that it would lower the importance of qualifying superpole and become a gimmick.
Davies is one of just two riders from last season’s WSBK stable to back the plans.
“Personally, I’m for the changes and can’t wait for my 2017 campaign,” said Davies. “I have a great team behind me, a strong team.”
“I usually qualifying on the third row anyway so I’m not sure it will make much difference to me.
“It don’t mind the new format. I grew up kart racing where the fastest guys started at the bike. I thrive on that.”.
“It does penalises the fastest guys, but they will come to the front anyway while the guys at home will get a better show for it.”
Yamaha’s Paul Denning also insisted the controversial changes would not ruin WSBK.
“The factories with the most consistent recent programmes and technical investments are doing the current winning, as is expected,” said Denning. “The best bike and rider combinations will continue to win, but the new race two grid will create a bigger fight to get to the front and a real challenge and opportunity for those on the front row to try and stay there.
“Less predictability will always increase the interest levels and this can only be positive for the series. And whether you love or hate this concept, right now WSBK is being talked about and that can also only be a good thing.”
See full story in the County Times