As the start of the 2017 Superbike World Championship draws nearer, Chaz Davies is hopeful of picking up where he left off when he won seven out of eight races at the end of last season.
While Kawasaki duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes ultimately managed to cling on to first and second place in the championship race, Davies' stellar late surge saw him finish just two points behind Sykes in third.
The Welshman returned to action on his Aruba.it Racing Ducati last week, completing a two-day test at Jerez followed by another two-day test at Portimao, and says he is starting to regain the same feeling on the bike he enjoyed at the end of last season.
Davies topped the timesheets at the Portugal test with a best lap of 1m 41.813s, and says he and the Ducati team have every reason to feel confident.
“We did a lot of work in the past two days, as well as in Jerez, and overall we can be happy with the results,” Davies said. “We completed a detailed program to evaluate all the technical upgrades, with good feedback.
“Despite the fact that some areas were repaved, the track has gotten a bit bumpier since we last raced here and, consequently, it wasn't easy to find the best possible setup.
— Aruba.it Racing (@ArubaRacing) January 29, 2017
"These tests, after a two-month break, were also crucial to allow me to get back the feeling I had on the bike towards the end of last year. In Portugal we clocked more than 700 kilometers.
"The team has done a great job, and we're optimistic ahead of the season opener in Australia, where we'll take advantage of the final tests to fine-tune the details.”
The 2017 Superbike World Championship starts on the 25th of February at Phillip Island in Australia, and it looks like fans can expect to see a resumption of the fierce late-season battle between Kawasaki and Ducati at the front of the grid.