Chaz Davies says he is “waiting to hear” if he will remain with Ducati for the 2019 World Superbike season when it introduces its new V4 Panigale, and admits he is “open” to other offers.
Davies joined the factory Ducati squad in 2014, and has since tallied up 23 wins and finished runner-up in the championship in ’15 and ’17.
Ducati will switch from its V-twin 1199 Panigale to a new V4 1000cc bike next season, with an extensive testing programme being carried out with it this year in preparation.
Davies’ current deal with Ducati expires at the end of this year, but feels the effort he has put in on the current bike over the last four years makes continuing with the new bike the ‘logical next step’.
“Kind of just starting,” Davies said when asked if he had begun negotiations with Ducati. “I’m basically waiting to hear what their plans are and how I fit into their plans for next year.
“I feel like I’ve given over 100 percent with the V-twin so far, and it would be logical to try the next step. But, who knows?
“Obviously, I think everybody is open to listen, a lot of the other riders are open to listen and I’m no different. So I’ve got that in mind, but at the same time I think I’ve got a great place at Ducati: they’ve put a lot into me, I’ve put a lot into them.
“So, logically, the V4 is the next step. But I have to wait their plans first. Nobody has talked to me about the future plans yet with Ducati.
“I think they are discussing amongst themselves, inside the management. But, for the moment, us riders are focusing on our jobs.”
Rumours suggest reigning triple world champion and current points leader Jonathan Rea – whom Davies trails by 42 points in second in the standings – is in discussions about a switch from Kawasaki to Ducati.
However, Ducati general manager Gigi Dall’Igna admitted keeping “continuity” with its current line-up of Davies and Marco Melandri would be “important” in its quest for top results.
“We have to start to talk with the riders, but at the moment I cannot tell yes or no about this question,” he said on a visit to the WSBK paddock at Imola.
“Yes, we had good results with both of them [Davies and Melandri], and the continuity is one of the most important things to have results in racing.”
Additional reporting by Lorenzo Moro