ERC Endurance Ducati at the Le Man Test

Chaz Davies is returning to the track just four months on from announcing his retirement from racing after being called up to Ducati’s Endurance World Championship line-up for the Le Mans 24 Hours season opener.

The Welshman called an end to his competitive career at the conclusion of the 2021 WorldSBK Championship after a successful career that yielded 32 WorldSBK victories and a WorldSSP Championship title.

Davies will partner David Checa, Xavi Fores and Marc Moser in the Germany-based team at Le Mans.

His call-up follows Zanetti’s crash in a race at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli last weekend that left the Italian with serious injuries.

ERC Endurance-Ducati CEO Uwe Reinhardt said.

“Lorenzo is still in hospital with a lot of broken bones and we are not sure if he can ride in Spa, but for Le Mans it will be Chaz Davies replacing him.

“Chaz is an old Ducati factory rider so he has a lot of experience and I hope he can go for a podium, this would be very important.

“It’s very bad for Lorenzo because the Pre-Test was very successful.

“it’s very disappointing to lose him for this race but he’s a great team member and it was good that all the riders were at the same speed.

“But we talk for one hour with Chaz and he said, ‘okay, I want to ride’ and for him this is also a dream.

Davies, who also raced at 125cc and 250cc World Championship level and was three times the WSBK runner-up, had actually switched to a rider coaching role for 2022 with Racing – Ducati Team.

He follows former MotoGP ace Bradley Smith as the latest high-profile entry for the 24 Heures Motos after Smith joined the MOTO AIN squad for the first day and night race of the EWC season.

The 45th 24 Heures Motos takes place from 14-17 April.