After winning 32 races and reaching 99 podiums in the Superbike World Championship (WSBK), Chaz Davies hung up his leathers at the end of the 2021 season. The Welsh rider’s time in the paddock was far from over, though, with Davies transitioning into a rider coaching role at the factory-supported Aruba.it Ducati WSBK and Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP) teams.
While Davies switched to a managerial position in 2022, the ERC Ducati team tapped the retired racer to replace the injured Lorenzo Zanetti for the opening round of the 2022 World Endurance Championship (WEC). The 24 Hours of Le Mans race is scheduled for the weekend of April 16-17, 2022, but Davies won’t be able to make the competition due to contracting an unnamed virus.
In an Instagram post, number 7 claimed that the illness is non-COVID related but didn’t specify the particular virus.
“Unfortunately, just after last weekend, I’ve been struck down with a virus and I’ve been pretty flawed by it,” revealed Davies. “To be honest, I’ve not been feeling too good at all. It’s not COVID, which is a positive, but regardless, I don’t feel too hot.”
The 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans would have marked Davies debut in endurance racing. Along with the Welshman’s WSBK accomplishments, he also has the 2011 WorldSSP and 58 Grand Prix starts (250cc and MotoGP) to his credit. While Davies had to pull out of the opening EWC round, there’s still a possibility that number 7 could rejoin the team later in the season. Zanetti’s injury could keep him sidelined for a portion of the year, and the next EWC race will occur at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps on June 4-5, 2022.
Following Davies departure, ERC Ducati named German rider Philipp Oettl as his replacement. Hopefully, both Zanetti and Davies can reach a full recovery before the season’s end.