CHAZ Davies launches his World Superbike Championship (WSBK) bid in Australia next weekend.

The Presteigne ace will spearhead Ducati’s championship bid having twice ended second in the past three years.

The Phillip island course represents the season opener as Davies bids to hit the ground running and mount a sustained challenge to Kawasaki’s Jon Rea and Tom Sykes.

Davies is also aiming to give the v-twin Ducati Panigale R a winning final campaign before it is retired for the Italian manufacturer’s news V4 bike.

Davies has clinched all but four of his 27 WSBK race wins with the Panigale R , including seven wins from the final eight races in 2016, and the ace confessed it would be an emotional goodbye.

“It will be an emotional season. This is my fifth year on track with the Panigale R,” said Davies. “I’ve won many races with this bike, which triggers many special memories, so it will be an honour to properly send it off before the Panigale V4 debuts on track.

Davies sustained knee ligament damage during a post-season test in Jerez last November and has since strove to return to full fitness ahead of the season opener.

On top of his injury issue, Davies has been getting to grips with the new technical World Superbike regulations with the maximum rev limiter hampering progress during the winter.

“The injury has kept me busy during the winter break,”said Davies. “The new rules for sure will make it more interesting for the public. We just need to do our homework but I don’t see any reasons why we shouldn’t be as competitive as in the past. We’re working hard and there are upgrades in the pipeline.”