Phillip Island (Australia), Tuesday 21st February 2012: team Althea Racing concluded final testing at Phillip Island this afternoon with some very positive results. The team is satisfied with the programme of work completed and both Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano are ready and prepared for the opening race of the 2012 World Superbike championship, taking place at the same track this coming weekend.
This morning, on a cooler track (28˚C), nearly all of the Superbike riders were able to improve on their best times set yesterday, Carlos and Davide included. While Carlos recorded a best of 1m31.6, which left him in second position overall behind Sykes (a 1m31.6 for him too), Giugliano managed to improve on his personal best by just over a second, to close in seventh place with a fastest lap of 1m32.3.
Later on in the afternoon session, with a track temperature now at 51˚C, the two Althea Racing riders continued with their tyre test, making the most of this final sessions to make final tweaks to their Ducati 1198 bikes. Checa made the quickest lap of the session (1m32.0), though the morning’s times were the quickest overall. Both Carlos and Davide maintained good pace on the hot track which augers well for Sunday’s races.
The first round of the 2012 championship opens this Friday, when the Superbike riders will be on track for the first practice and first qualifying session of the new season.
“We were able to complete our work programme with some very satisfying results and this is what counts, more than the times. We worked with both the 200 tyres and the 190 tyres and I must say I prefer the setting we have with the 200. I’m feeling happy with the bike and the setting that we have but now we must wait to see how the track conditions, temperature and tyres will be this weekend. We know that this is one of the best tracks for the Ducati and so we want to make the most of this opportunity. I will focus, do my best and we’ll see what this can bring us on Sunday.”
“I am pleased with what we got done today. I am gradually getting to grips with my bike and with the new track and today we’ve seen some more positive results. Testing has gone well, we’ve tried many different things and the team has worked extremely hard, sharing with me all of their knowledge and experience. I’ve improved on yesterday’s times but the important thing is that we have maintained a good pace, especially in this afternoon’s hot conditions. There’s still a lot of room for improvement of course but I feel that we’ve done our best as far as preparation is concerned and I’m feeling fairly confident ahead of this weekend’s races.”
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing:
“These two days have been extremely useful, giving us the chance to better understand many things that will help us in our future work. Carlos has impressed us with his times even though we realize that there will be stiff competition as always. We’ve seen that the extra 6kg are difficult to manage and limit us particularly when it comes to braking and manageability. The extra weight also means that the tyres wear more quickly but we count on Carlos’ experience to overcome this significant handicap that the new regulation has given us.
I’m happy and had no doubts about Davide and the progress he has made. Today he was able to ride with more confidence and his lap times confirm that, even though he’s young, he has begun to understand that this is a man’s game. His objective, naturally, is to learn all of the tricks of the trade but he will be a strong rival for many. We all have confidence in him and will work hard to give him all the support he needs.”
FINAL TIMES: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’31.6; 2 Checa (Ducati) 1’31.6; 3. Smrz (Ducati) 1’31.8; 4. Rea (Honda) 1’31.9; 5. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’32.0; 6. Melandri (BMW) 1’32.2; 7. Giugliano (Ducati) 1’32.3; 8. Camier (Suzuki) 1’32.3; 9. Guintoli (Ducati) 1’32.3; 10. Haslam (BMW) 1’32.3....