Alcaniz (Spain), Sunday 14 April 2013: team SBK Ducati Alstare and riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini were able to complete both of today’s two Superbike races at MotorLand Aragon inside the top ten. Despite Aragon being one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar for the Ducati 1199 Panigale, Carlos closed the races in seventh and eighth position while Ayrton finished both races tenth.
Race 1 – in warm and sunny conditions Carlos made a good start from the fourth row and was lying tenth by the end of the first lap. Ayrton, thirteenth on the grid, gained a couple of positions during the first laps before passing Neukirchner to move into eleventh place. Managing to keep pace, Checa was able to gradually improve his position and by lap seven he was up to seventh position. The second half of the race became a rather solitary affair for both Ducati Alstare riders, with a few seconds separating them from both the riders immediately in front of them and those behind. Unfortunately this gap meant that neither rider was able to improve further, with the pair crossing the line in final seventh (Carlos) and tenth (Ayrton) position.
Race 2 – on a much hotter track compared to the first race, Carlos was in eighth place by the end of lap one followed by Ayrton, tenth. For almost the entire race Checa fought with Haslam while Badovini battled it out with Fabrizio. On the twelfth lap Ayrton was able to pass the Roman rider, moving into tenth and closing the race in that same position, earning himself another six important points. Carlos, having passed Haslam in the final stages, closed in final eighth position.
At the end of this second round Checa lies in thirteenth position in the championship standings, with 17 points, while Ayrton is fifteenth, having earned his first 12 points here today. During the weekend, team SBK Ducati Alstare has collated a lot of useful data, thanks to Carlos and Ayrton’s feedback which the technicians will evaluate in order to move forward with development and understand how to improve the set-up of the Ducati 1199 Panigale for the coming races.
Carlos Checa: ‘I think there has been some improvement on the chassis side, although I still had trouble through the corners – in race one I was struggling to find the apex. At a certain point I realized I’d been stung by a bee and in the final laps my shoulder started to give me some trouble, so there were definitely a few problems to contend with. Despite all that I did what I could to keep pace and was able to hold my position in both races. In the end it wasn’t so bad. Of course we’re not exactly satisfied with the race results but in these circumstances I don’t think we could have done more here today. I am satisfied though with the work we’ve done over the weekend. I’ve given my technicians a lot of feedback and they’ve worked really hard – I know that they are capable of moving us in the right direction. We’re looking ahead. We now have two important test days at Jerez and then we go to Assen where we hope to be able to close the gap a little.’
Ayrton Badovini: ‘Today’s races were not at all easy for us. In race 1 I did all I could to finish the race and take a few points, without taking any risks. In the second race I was lapping a lot better, the bike was behaving quite differently compared to the first race and I was able to push. We made some quite big changes to the bike between the first and second races and they made a difference. I’d say we’ve made a step forward. We’re working well and understanding the direction we need to take. The tests this week in Jerez are very important for me in particular because I still haven’t had a lot of time on the bike so I hope to make the most of those sessions. Here at Aragon we’ve collected a lot of information that we can hopefully use to our advantage in the coming weeks.’
Francis Batta, Team SBK Ducati Alstare owner: ‘The important thing is that both riders completed both of today’s races. We’ve collected some points, and this is always important. I’m sure that if we continue to work consistently and tenaciously we will make progress. Ducati has a great deal of experience, they know how to work and I remain confident – I continue to believe in this project.’
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1.Davies (BMW); 2. Guintoli (Aprilia); 3. Melandri (BMW). Race 2 – 1. Davies (BMW); 2. Guintoli (Aprilia); 3. Sykes (Kawasaki)
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 85; 2. Davies (BMW) 63; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 45; 4. Melandri (BMW) 43; 5. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 42; 6. Sykes (Kawasaki) 38; 7. Cluzel (Suzuki) 33; 8. Baz (Kawasaki) 31… 13. Checa (Ducati Alstare) 17… 15. Badovini (Ducati Alstare) 12. Manufacturers – 1. Aprilia 90; 2. BMW 79; 3. Kawasaki 49; 4. Honda 37; Suzuki 35; Ducati 28