Chaz Davies has announced that he’ll retire from the World Superbike Championship at the end of the 2021 season.
The Welshman revealed his decision in a special conference held on the eve of the Spanish round at Jerez, a meeting which Davis will miss after breaking two ribs in a crash in Barcelona last weekend.
Davies is one of the most successful riders in WorldSBK history, finishing runner-up in 2015, 2017 and 2018. The Team GoEleven Ducati rider also finished third in 2016 and 2020. On the 2021 grid, only Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes have more race wins than Davies, who currently sits on 32 victories – seventh on the all-time list of winners, one behind Troy Corser.
“I just wanted to say that unfortunately in some ways, and fortunately in others, this will be my last season in WorldSBK,” Davies said in his press conference. “It’s obviously a decision that has not come easily, it’s taken a lot of thought because I’m a strong believer in when you’re done, you’re done. To me, the timing seemed right to make this decision.
“Like I said, very difficult and a lot of deliberation especially being here at the circuit again! It even felt different walking in a couple of hours ago to make this announcement. You need to change something in your head. Here we are. There’s a lot of reasons behind it and like I said, a lot of deliberation and wondering whether it’s the right move but I’m very confident and I’m both happy and sad at the same time that it is the right decision. Ready to turn the page and open up the next chapter.”
Of his 32 victories, 28 were taken as a Ducati rider. 89 of his 99 podiums also came with the Bologna-based manufacturer, with Davies writing himself into the illustrious Ducati history books.
Davies has taken the record for most starts for Ducati with 211, whilst only Carl Fogarty and Troy Bayliss have more victories and podiums for the Italian manufacturer.
“I’ve had so many good times and I think, for me, one of the most special things I’ve experienced in all these years was winning races on Italian soil,” Davies added. “Especially at Imola, just down the road from Bologna, and I can genuinely say there’s no feeling like it. It’s just pinch yourself city. All the Ducatisti are there in force. It really does feel like something special.
“I can reflect on it now, but in the moment, I was like ‘you’ve got to remember this because these are the days that are beyond sweet’. A lot of good times, a lot of good people.”
Alongside his illustrious Superbike career, Davies was also crowned World Supersport champion in 2011 with the Yamaha ParkinGo team – taking the crown with a 50-point advantage over David Salom.
Davies is also a Supersport race winner in the AMA Championship, and became the youngest-ever rider to compete in a full Grand Prix season, aged 15, in 2002. Davies rode in the 125cc and 250cc classes – becoming the youngest rider to score points in the 250cc class in 2003 by finishing 15th at the Phakisa Speedway, South Africa. Over the next couple of seasons Davies would take multiple top 10 results.
Chaz Davies also made three MotoGP appearances with the Pramac Racing Ducati team. He replaced the injured Alex Hofmann at Laguna Seca in 2007, before returning again with the team at Phillip Island and Sepang. Davies was supposed to race again at Valencia but injured his hand and wrist during practice.
In a statement released by Davies on his official social media pages, the Ducati rider hinted that his racing career may not be over just yet.
“Although I’m stepping away from a full-time WorldSBK seat, I don’t want to call this ‘retirement’ and will remain actively training and riding motorcycles,” the statement reads. “I love this sport and inside I think I’ll always be the same fan I was at 10 years old.”