Phillip Island (Australia), Wednesday 15th February 2012: the first of two February testing sessions concluded today at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island with extremely positive results for the Althea Racing team. Carlos Checa, 2011 World Champion, recorded the fastest overall times while ‘new-entry’ Davide Giugliano made consistent progress throughout the three-day test.
The Althea Racing team got back to work on Monday as these, the first tests of 2012, commenced at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island in warm, sunny conditions. On day one of testing, Carlos Checa immediately set the bar, recording some of the fastest times of the session. His new team-mate for the 2012 racing season, Davide Giugliano, was getting to grips with what is for him a new circuit when he unfortunately took a fall but was unhurt and able to continue with the work schedule.
Both riders continued to make good progress into the second day, although Carlos sat out the morning’s session as a result of illness. During the afternoon, the Spaniard and his technicians were able to complete a large part of the planned work and Checa was pleased to find a good solution as far as front suspension is concerned. The times of most riders dropped throughout the day but it was Carlos out in front once more, with a best time of 1m32.1. Davide continued to build up confidence with both his Ducati 1198 and the Australian track, recording a best of 1m33.7.
Today was the third and final day of testing and, on a track even hotter than yesterday, the Althea riders worked hard until the session’s close. Checa was pleased to be able to repeat yesterday’s performance, putting in a 1m31.8, the fastest lap of the whole session. Giugliano continued to improve; the young Italian worked together with his team to refine the set-up of his Ducati 1198, also finding time to test a new fork.
“We lost time yesterday because I was unwell; I stayed in bed for most of the morning and only went out on track from about 2.30pm. Despite that setback, we still got most of the work done luckily. Today was even hotter and we tried different things but it seems hard to make further improvements when we already feel like we’re at the limit. We started the season well here last year so we’ve compared last year’s set-up to this year’s, considering the extra 6kg, and we understand the direction to take. We’ll continue with the work on Monday, concentrating mainly on the tyres and their behavior in these hot conditions but for now I can say I’m satisfied.”
“All in all it’s gone well seeing as it’s the first time I’m seeing the Phillip Island track. I think we can be happy with the work completed over the three days, though there’s still a lot to do next week! Everything went more or less to plan, apart from a crash on day one but, thanks to my team that has worked hard to set the bike up to suit my riding style, I was able to build confidence and I am feeling more positive as a result. Now we can rest up for a couple of days before turning our minds to the next round of tests.”
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing:
“Considering that this has been a long and tiring test session, with very high track temperatures, I think we can be satisfied with the results. We were mainly checking the bike’s set up and behavior in light of the extra six kilos. It’s clear that on this track Carlos is able to set some very fast times but this wasn’t our main focus here. We’ve worked hard and I think it has paid off as we have a strong set-up and feel ready for the off. We of course have a significant disadvantage with the extra weight on board, and we’ve already seen here that riders like Laverty, Haslam, Biaggi and Sykes are strong, but we are confident in Carlos’ abilities. As far as Davide is concerned, and bearing in mind that it’s always difficult for a rider with a new bike at a new track, I believe that he has good pace and is definitely moving in the right direction. We concentrated on making him comfortable and giving him confidence with the bike and he made constant progress. The whole team is more united than ever and we’ll continue with our work programme next Monday.”
UNOFFICIAL TIMES (third day): Carlos Checa 1m31.8, Davide Giugliano 1m33.5