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Team SBK Ducati Alstare faces an uphill climb this weekend at MotorLand Aragon

Alcaniz (Spain), Friday 12 April 2013: Team SBK Ducati Alstare, on track this weekend for the second round of the World Superbike championship at MotorLand Aragon, have not had the easiest of first days – riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini closed first qualifying in twelfth and fourteenth position respectively.
The riders were pleased to be able to make the most of dry, sunny conditions during today’s first practice and qualifying sessions. Having not ridden their 1199 Panigale bikes since Phillip Island, an event from which both came away with injury, Carlos and Ayrton spent first practice getting back into the swing of things.
By the end of the first practice session Checa was lying in tenth position with a best time of 2’00.6 while team-mate Ayrton closed in fourteenth position thanks to a time of 2’01.6 recorded in the final stages. They continued to make gradual progress during the afternoon qualifying, with Carlos able to drop his best time set in the morning by six tenths of a second while Ayrton managed to shave a whole second off his earlier time.
Following last week’s test sessions, the two Ducati Alstare riders take advantage of a new engine configuration this weekend. An engine variation combined with a new exhaust has improved rideability and power delivery, something that Carlos and Ayrton have confirmed to be true after this first day on track.
Carlos Checa: ‘We still have limitations at this track that don’t allow us to record the kind of times we need but it’s a new bike and we realise that there is still a lot to do. We know that top speed is going to be an issue but here we are also suffering in the changes of direction and in terms of acceleration. We still have to work to do on the set-up to see how we can carry more speed out of the corners. To tell the truth I expected this kind of situation at Aragon – it’s one of the hardest tracks for us and the gap between the two and four-cylinders is not a surprise.’
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Ayrton Badovini: ‘Fortunately I feel physically fit, I haven’t really had any problems from that point of view. I feel quite confident that we’ll be able to improve further tomorrow because we’ve already seen progress during today’s sessions. We also made a change towards the end of qualifying that made a difference and I felt more comfortable so we hope to continue in that direction tomorrow. Of course there’s a lot more to do but we expected a challenging time of it here. We’ll do our very best.’
TIMES (Qualifying): Laverty (Aprilia) 1’58.4; 2. Davies (Aprilia) 1’58.6; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’58.8; 4. Melandri (BMW) 1’58.9; 5. Rea (Honda) 1’59.0; 6. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’59.1; 7. Camier (Suzuki) 1’59.3; 8. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’59.4… 12. Checa (Ducati Alstare) 2’00.0… 14. Badovini (Ducati Alstare) 2’00.6