World Superbikes: Ducati racer Chaz Davies heartbroken for Italian team
World Superbike racer Chaz Davies says his heart breaks for his Italian colleagues caught up in the coronavirus crisis.
Davies rides for Bologna-based manufacturer Ducati and says everyone in the team has been "hit really hard".
"I know people who've lost parents," he said. "It makes you sit up and realise how serious the situation is."
Davies, from Powys, is in self-isolation at his Andorran home after the 2020 race series was postponed.
The first round took place on Australia's Phillip Island at the end of February and Davies said his team knew then how grave the situation was getting in Europe.
"I work with Italians, pretty much everyone is Italian, and they were the first to start feeling it seriously," he told BBC Sport Wales.
"I've felt how scared they've been for a good few weeks now.
"There's the fact that loved ones can go into hospital but obviously you can't visit and they die without their family and friends around them which is one of the saddest things ever."
Davies has spent the past two weeks in lockdown at his home in Andorra, and with his wife Hattie six months pregnant, he admits it brings "a different element of stress".
Adding to that is concern over his father undergoing hip surgery at home in Wales.
"When you've got a parent a couple of thousand miles away who's going in for a pretty severe operation, at this time it's a worry," he said. "Thankfully he's recovering well."
Davies emphasised it is "extremely important that everybody does their bit" by following government guidelines.
"I understand it's not as easy for some people as it is for others. But when you're talking about lives on the line you've just got to do whatever you can," he said.
"It's just crazy how life can change for everybody. But I'm totally on board with any measures that we have to take to stop this thing from spreading."
Unearthing new talents
Davies says he, his wife and dog are coping well in isolation, with weekly highlights now consisting of doing the shopping and sorting the recycling.
"I joke but this forced shutdown is an opportunity to try and practise something or get into something, so I've bought a drum kit, I used to play a little bit when I was younger, I'm not very good but I do want to be better at it," he said.
Davies says he is also becoming a dab hand at DIY, while his home gym allows him to maintain his fitness for when racing resumes.
World Superbike organisers made an early call to postpone the next two rounds and Davies says they are lucky in that their 13-round calendar has enough flexibility to allow for rescheduled races.
"We start early, we finish relatively late and our summer break is a long one so there's gaps in between," he said.
But he also accepts, due to he nature of the sport hopping from one country to another, this year may not happen.
"I think everybody's prepared for that, you just never know, this thing is changing day on day," Davies added.
The series currently has a scheduled return to action at Assen in mid-April, and in the unlikely event of it going ahead, Davies will be raring to go.
"I was looking forward to getting some redemption in Qatar," he said.
"If I'd had a good Philip Island I probably would have been sat with my feet up and going 'at least we had a good start' but after a bad race you're even more eager to put things right."
While Davies admits to missing being out on the bike, he added: "It's absolutely not a priority at the minute.
"One day we'll go back to normality but until then it's not about us.
"I'm happy to be here doing my bit and hopefully we can all, collectively in Europe, slow this thing down."