Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), riding the Ducati 1198 for the first time at Donington Park today, was happy to close first qualifying for the second round of the World Superbike Championship in third position.
In the morning’s first practice session and in unexpectedly sunny conditions, Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa went to the top of the timesheets and stayed there for much of the sixty minute session. He was able to find good rhythm and continued to lower his lap times before registering the best lap of the session right in the final minutes. Checa was the only rider to duck under 1m30 this morning, with a best of 1m29.978.
Later in the afternoon, and on a slightly warmer track (22˚C), the Spanish rider continued to make good progress during first qualifying. His technicians lost a few minutes during the session when they had to resolve a small problem with the handlebar but, with this fixed, Carlos started to push, recording some consistently fast lap times in the process. He was able to improve on his morning’s best time by an impressive eight tenths of a second, to close first qualifying in third position which bodes very well for tomorrow’s Superpole.
“This is the first time I’ve ridden the 1198 at Donington and so I’m quite satisfied with the third place obtained today. We still have work to do tomorrow of course, mainly on my speed through certain sections of the track because I’m losing a couple of tenths to the leaders and we need to solve that. The important thing here though is to be consistent and we’re doing fairly well in that respect. I’d say that there will be five or six riders fighting at the front on Sunday and I hope to be part of that group. Tomorrow the work continues, we’ll try to improve stability and braking but all in all I can say we’re feeling quite confident.”
The new-look version of Carlos Checa’s web site www.carloscheca.com was launched today and is available in Spanish, English and soon Italian.
World Superbike 1st Qualifying Results – Donington Park
1. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’28.7; 2. Melandri (Yamaha) 1’28.8; 3. Checa (Ducati) 1’29.1; 4. Laverty (Yamaha) 1’29.3; 5. Smrz (Ducati) 1’29.3; 6. Haslam (BMW) 1’29.4; 7. Corser (BMW) 1’29.4; 8. Xaus (Honda) 1’29.6
[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Althea Racing]