Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 19 February 2013: with Carlos Checa back on his feet after last week’s setback, the Spanish rider and Team SBK Ducati Alstare was able to make full use of two official test days at the Phillip Island circuit, scoring some very encouraging results in the process.
During day one, in warm and sunny conditions, Checa finally enjoyed some solid track time and worked hard with his team to make technical adjustments to his 1199 Panigale, which will make its highly anticipated debut in the World Superbike category this coming weekend. Yesterday the performances of several riders, Carlos included, picked up late in the afternoon. The Spaniard finished day one in sixth position, with a best of 1’31.5. Day two saw further improvement on a much cooler track, with Carlos fastest in the morning’s damp conditions. Shortly before the end of the day, on a dry track, he improved on times set yesterday to close in overall first position with a time of 1’31.0, the fastest lap recorded during the two days. His pace augers well for the upcoming races.
Although Ayrton Badovini was not left with any serious injury after last week’s crash, he took the decision, after consultation with the Clinica Mobile, to sit out day one of the test session as he is still suffering some pain. He did complete a handful of laps today but took things easy, so as to ensure that he’s in better condition for this weekend’s races, the first of the 2013 World Superbike season.
Carlos Checa: ‘I’m extremely happy with the results; it was a nice surprise to make the fastest lap, with everybody riding in the same conditions. I honestly didn’t believe that we’d be at this level at this point; I thought I’d finish about seventh. We were already able to find a good base setting yesterday and then continued to work from there today. I like the fact that every change we make to this bike is positive and it seems that everything we do results in us going in the right direction. The team are working really well together and this is the first time this year that we’ve had good conditions that have allowed us to spend a lot of time on the bike. Working on this new project right now is one of the most satisfying moments of my life. It is an exciting challenge and today’s results show that the bike has great potential and that there is still room for improvement.’
Ayrton Badovini: ‘I only did a few laps today, just to see how I felt on the bike. I have a hematoma on my liver and that makes me very sore – especially through the right turns and when changing direction at speed. According to the doctor, this kind of thing normally needs one month to heal properly, but I’m hoping that, after two days rest, I will be able to get on my bike and get round the circuit ok. I’m reasonably happy with what we got done last week. I’ve never ridden a twin before and the bike’s characteristics are very different to what I’m used to. So far I’ve been concentrating on making small steps forward, instead of trying anything radical and I feel that we’re making progress. We have to improve quite a few things, but that is normal with a new bike. I am positive that once we get the bike dialled in, we can get good results.’
Francis Batta’, Team SBK Ducati Alstare owner: ‘For me, it’s been a good test. Carlos is a good development rider and he has shown what’s possible with this bike. This has been the first time this year that we’ve had decent weather and that has allowed us to work hard and try a lot of things. After today, I feel confident in this project and I now think we’ll be competitive sooner than we originally thought.’