Nevers (France), Sunday 2nd October 2011: After a season full of successes, race wins, podiums, fastest laps and pole positions, Carlos Checa and the Althea Racing team today received the ultimate prize at the „Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours‟, as Carlos was crowned World Superbike Champion 2011 at this, the penultimate round of the championship! This was not all, as, thanks to Checa‟s brilliant results throughout the 2011 season, Ducati was today celebrating its 17th win in the manufacturer‟s championship at the end of Race 2.
In Race 1, and starting from third position on the grid, Checa was in third by the end of lap one, behind Camier and Laverty. Within a couple of laps he had reached and passed Camier, recording on his fourth lap the fastest lap of the race (1m38.643). Pushing hard, Althea man Carlos began to close the gap between himself and race leader Laverty and on the ninth lap he was able to get ahead and take control of the race. By the end of the fifteenth lap he had a two second advantage over the Irishman and, wanting to clinch the title in the best possible way, he did not slow up even for a second, crossing the line in first place and claiming the World Championship title as his own.
Despite the fact that emotions were already running high, Carlos got straight back to work in the second race of the day. Fourth at the end of lap one, he got past first Sykes and the Camier, making the fastest lap of the race on lap two, a 1m39.136. With this fast lap, his tenth fastest lap of the 2011 season, he also picked up the Pirelli best lap award today. A few laps later, Checa made a small error while trying to pass Laverty and lost a couple of positions as a result. He soon made up for this however, and by the eighth lap he was back up to third and only a second from race leader Laverty. On lap twelve he got in front of Rea and on the very next lap he was leading the race. Extremely fast all the way to the line, Carlos managed his race to perfection, closing in first place once again, to secure his 14th win of the season.
Having led the 2011 championship right from the opening round, Carlos Checa‟s win is extremely well deserved. He brought home the 2011 World SBK title ahead of schedule, with three races still to run. Highlights (and lowlights!) of the season have included double wins at Phillip Island, Salt Lake City, Misano, Silverstone and here at Magny-Cours, a crash at home-track Aragon and the stunning win at Ducati‟s home track of Imola last week.
The season has brought huge success, with the team clocking up 14 race wins and a total of 20 podium finishes over the twelve events held so far. At Silverstone, Carlos also reached the milestone of 100 SBK race starts while simultaneously scoring the 300th race win for Ducati. Carlos has thus far attained 39 podiums from 106 SBK race starts.
Having accumulated a total of 467 points over the twelve rounds needed to take the title, Checa is the 14th Ducati rider to take the SBK crown, while Borgo-Panigale also scores its 17th manufacturer‟s title with a total of 491 points earned so far.
Carlos Checa, Campione Mondiale Superbike 2011:
“Today has been a perfect day, the best day of my career and probably the best day of my life. I thank everyone, every person that has helped me throughout my career, from the beginning up until today, for helping me reach this point. I especially thank Genesio Bevilacqua, my entire team and Ducati of course. I am experiencing so many emotions and must admit that it was very difficult to keep my concentration in the final stages of race one. Then, in race two, I tried to race as fast as I could, doing what I like to do best, and was able to win once more. Now we can relax and relish in this unforgetable moment.”
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing:
“An unforgetable day for the Althea team and for Ducati too. We‟ve fulfilled two of our objectives but it wasn‟t at all easy – it was a difficult year and we had to fight hard for this. Now we are more relaxed of course! I must thank Carlos Checa who has gone beyond all of my expectations. I also thank the entire team, the engineers, the mechanics. As far as our sponsors are concerned, a particular thanks goes to Antonio and Alessandro Annoscia, the owners of Unibat. They have supported us all season, and I hope we can renew this faith that we have in each other for 2012. Thanks also to Maurizio Perlini, our trusted engine builder, and finally I want to thank Ducati for having provided us with such a fantastic bike – I hope they too are happy with our results”.
Ernesto Marinelli, SBK Project Director – Ducati:
“It has been an incredible day. As far as I recall, I don‟t think Ducati has ever won four titles in one day so that alone is a record. In Genesio and in Althea we have found a very important partner that, with Carlos‟ impeccable work and talent and Davide‟s impressive work throughout the year, has given us the possiblity to obtain today‟s result. I thank Genesio, Carlos, Davide and the entire Althea Racing squad for this incredible performance.”
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Melandri (Yamaha); 3. Haslam (BMW). Race 2 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Melandri (Yamaha); 3. Lavery (Yamaha) CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Checa (Ducati) 467; 2. Melandri (Yamaha) 360; 3. Laverty (Yamaha) 283; 4. Biaggi (Aprilia) 281; 5. Haslam (BMW) 216; 6. Camier (Aprilia) 194; 7. Guintoli (Ducati) 179; 8. Haga (Aprilia) 170…… Manufacturers – Ducati 491; Yamaha 415; Aprilia 399; BMW 261; Kawasaki 209; Honda 162; Suzuki 162
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Melandri (Yamaha); 3. Haslam (BMW). Race 2 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Melandri (Yamaha); 3. Lavery (Yamaha)
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Checa (Ducati) 467; 2. Melandri (Yamaha) 360; 3. Laverty (Yamaha) 283; 4. Biaggi (Aprilia) 281; 5. Haslam (BMW) 216; 6. Camier (Aprilia) 194; 7. Guintoli (Ducati) 179; 8. Haga (Aprilia) 170…… Manufacturers – Ducati 491; Yamaha 415; Aprilia 399; BMW 261; Kawasaki 209; Honda 162; Suzuki 162