Chaz Davies laid down two huge markers after walking away from the opening World Superbike weekend with a pair of hard-fought second places.
But once again the challenge facing the Mid Wales star to wrestle the title away from reigning champion Jonathan Rea has already been laid bare for all to see.
Rea, just as he did last year, claimed both race wins at Phillip Island in Australia – each time by less than half a second.
Davies, however, pushed his rival all the way and only missed out claiming top spot by 0.025 seconds during race two and 0.042 in the first.
“Sunday’s race was a bit more difficult to manage, given the hotter conditions,” said Davies, who finished last year’s championships in third.
“The glass is half full though, without a doubt.
“We tried something different but we lost a couple of bike lengths here and there and we just couldn’t pass Rea before the finish line.
“When you look at the full picture, this is a really positive result.
“It would be easy to be disappointed because we barely missed two wins.
“But historically this has never been a favourite circuit for me and sometimes I lost precious points here, so two second places are a good building block for the rest of the season.”
Starting eighth on the grid for Sunday’s race, due to the new regulations, Davies rode a tactical race, clawing his way through the pack.
Applying constant pressure on double world champion Rea, who is aiming to become the first ever rider to win three WSK titles on the bounce, both Davies and his Ducati team-mate, Marco Melandri, provisionally took the lead in a top group made of five riders.
But in the end it was Rea’s Kawasaki that had enough power to steal the win, ahead of Davies and Melandri respectively.Subscribe to our Newsletter