The sixth round of the 2013 World Superbike championship brought a solid result for Team SBK Ducati Alstare and rider Carlos Checa today at the Portimao circuit, with the Spanish rider closing race two in sixth position.
Race 1 - race one began under cloudy skies (air 18˚C, track 27˚C). Carlos, starting from seventh on the grid, immediately gained a position to place himself in the chasing group together with Baz and Camier. He was able to maintain a strong pace during the initial stages, lapping with similar times to the leaders. At the mid-race point Checa was lying seventh, a position that he held until three laps from the end when a drop in the level of grip caused him to lose a couple of positions. The Spaniard thus crossed the line in ninth position. Ayrton, tenth on the grid, unfortunately lost a few positions in the first laps but then climbed back up to tenth position towards mid-race. Having maintained this position for the entire second half of the race, the Italian rider was unfortunately forced to retire during the penultimate lap due to a technical problem regarding the fuel line.
Race 2 - conditions were similar for the second race. Carlos made another strong start, positioning himself sixth through the first turns. Lapping with a much faster pace than in race one, the Ducati Alstare rider was able to hold fifth position from mid-race right up until the penultimate lap when Davies, at an advantage as far as top speed is concerned, was able to sneak past along the straightway. Carlos crossed the line in final sixth position, a demonstration of improvement both in terms of his physical condition and regarding the chassis. Ayrton also got away well, fighting with Cluzel through the first laps and lying tenth by mid-race. In the final stages he was able to make up another two places to close the race in eighth position.
Carlos Checa: "In race 1 I was able to keep pace with those ahead of me for the first six or seven laps. From mid-race on I started to gradually lose some grip and that, combined with a tired left shoulder in the final stages, unfortunately prevented me from maintaining seventh position to the line. We made small changes before race 2 and as a result the bike was much easier to ride, especially when it came to changing direction. It was the first time I was able to maintain a good pace for the entire race and I'm very happy with the result. I want to thank my entire team that has worked so hard every weekend up until now, I appreciate all that they are doing - this sixth position motivates us to continue to improve in the next races."
Ayrton Badovini: "The DNF in race one was pretty frustrating of course. In race 2 we used the bike in a different configuration but I had more trouble with rear grip. Now we need to start working in preparation for Imola where I hope to be able to score better results. My compliments go to Carlos who completed a very strong second race today."
Francis Batta, Team Manager: "Today was a positive day; the result in race 2 shows us that Carlos' physical condition has improved thanks to the physiotherapy treatment he has been receiving both in Barcelona and at the Clinica Mobile. The bike is also responding well to recent developments and we'll continue to work tirelessly towards the podium."
Riders - 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 213; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 185; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 174; 4. Melandri (BMW) 156; 5. Davies (BMW) 133; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 119; 7. Rea (Honda) 105; 8. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 101... 13. Checa (Ducati Alstare) 50; 14. Badovini (Ducati Alstare) 45...
Manufacturers - 1. Aprilia 253; 2. BMW 211; 3. Kawasaki 209; 4. Honda 112; 5. Suzuki 104; 6. Ducati 82