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Chaz Davies celebrates historic top ten finish

Chaz Davies celebrates historic top ten finish

Chaz Davies celebrates historic top ten finish

British teenager Chaz Davies confirmed his vast potential in the 250cc World Championship with an historic ninth place at the Cinzano Rio Grand Prix last weekend. After enduring a difficult debut quarter-litre season marked by bad luck and mechanical problems, the 16 year old Aprilia Germany rider bounced back in Brazil to become the second youngest rider ever to finish in the top ten in the class – just 21 days older than his good friend and current record holder Casey Stoner, who finished sixth at Jerez last year.

"When I heard I was the second youngest top ten, I just knew the youngest would have to be Casey!" laughed Davies, who has ridden alongside the Australian since their days in the British Championship. "We went bowling together in Rio on Saturday night and he beat me by a couple of lucky points – so I suppose it's typical! Seriously though, it is quite an interesting statistic – especially when there are guys like Marco Melandri and Sebastian Porto below me. Hopefully I can go on to be as successful as them."

Casting his mind back to the race itself, Davies revealed he was disappointed he wasn't able to finish higher up – despite recording his best ever race result. "Over the weekend I had a lot of problems with rear end grip, which also bothered me at the start of the race. I thought I could have gone with Hector Faubel but he escaped and, just when I began to catch him over the last few laps, Joan Olive and Anthony West came past. I was satisfied with ninth, but I would have been really happy with sixth."

The result marked a poignant moment in the season for Davies and his family, who just one year ago were preparing for the three ‘flyaway' races fearing for his Grand Prix future. "This time last year I was having a nightmare time in the 125 class, just riding around for finishes on a completely uncompetitive bike and I remember thinking ‘do I really have to go on this trip?' - I had completely lost heart. This year is the complete opposite – I can't wait to get out there and the races can't come quickly enough."

If there are any remaining doubts over Davies' potential, the youngster will be looking to quash them over the final quarter of the season with some of the pressure now lifted off his young shoulders. "Nowadays in Grand Prix people expect instant results, but going back to that list of young riders you see that Porto has been around since 1996 and is only just establishing himself as a top rider.

"It is a tough environment but I have no complaints and I am enjoying it now more than ever. My style should suit Motegi because there are a lot of hairpins and I am quite hard on the brakes, although the other riders will be working on that too. I also really like Phillip Island, so there is no reason why I can't aim for even better results in the remaining races."

Youngest top-ten finishers in a 250cc World Championship race

1. Casey Stoner 16 years 201 days 6th/Spain/2002/Jerez
2. Chaz Davies 16 years 222 days 9th/Rio/2003/Nelson Piquet
3. Sebastian Porto 17 years 208 days 9th/Indonesia/1996/Sentul
4. Marco Melandri 17 years 239 days 5th/Malaysia/2000/Sepang
5. Anthony West 17 years 282 days 10th/Japan/1999/Motegi

250cc, 2003

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