Aragon (Spain), Sunday 1st July 2012: Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa was very happy to score a podium finish at his home track of MotorLand Aragon today; he finished the first of two Superbike races in third position, cheered on by his Spanish fans.
Race 1 – the track temperature for this first race was about 25 degrees cooler than for yesterday’s Superpole, at about 32˚C. Starting from seventh position on the race grid, Checa got away well and by the end of the first lap he was lying sixth, having already got past Haslam. Davide also started very fast and was in fifth place after one lap, thanks to a flying start from eleventh on the grid. Unfortunately after a few laps Davide’s tyre performance began to drop and from that moment he was unable to keep pace with the leading group, losing positions as a result. Suffering even more in the later stages Giugliano crossed the line in eventual eighth place. Carlos held fifth position for the majority of the race, only a fraction of a second behind the third and fourth placed riders. These was contact between these two – Sykes and Badovini – on the final lap which left both of them on the ground. As a result it was Spanish rider Carlos Checa who took the final spot on the race 1 rostrum, very happy with having scored a podium finish ‘at home’.
Race 2 – in the second race Davide once again got away like a rocket and was sixth through the first corners, followed by Carlos in tenth position. Carlos began to make up lose ground and by the seventh lap he was into seventh position, behind Haslam and Sykes. Davide meanwhile lost a couple of positions and from eighth place battled it out with Rea and Haslam and, in the final phase, Badovini too. All of the riders in this chasing group were lapping with very similar times and at the end of a very hard-fought race, Davide closed in final tenth position, but only ten seconds behind the race winner Melandri. Carlos got past Haslam, taking sixth position but then he too had to spend the final stages of the race locked in battle against several riders including Rea and Sykes. Maintaining a good pace until the finish line, Checa concluded this second race in seventh position.
At the end of round 8, Checa climbs to fourth position in the general standings with 175.5 points while Davide is still ninth with 94 points. Ducati lies in second place in the manufacturer’s championship with 247.5 points to Aprilia’s 266.
“To close in the top five would already have been a good result today, so to reach the podium was pretty unexpected to be honest. It’s always great to score this kind of result when you’re racing at home. I thank all of my team for their hard work and also the public for their enthusiasm. We had a little luck at the end of race 1 – I was sorry for what happened between Badovini and Sykes, and pleased they were unhurt. The second race went fairly well, in the sense that my rhythm was a bit better but I was unable to get past those ahead of me. They slowed me down a little through the corners and then I was losing out to them on the straight. It’s difficult to race in these conditions, you have to force every manoeuvre, pushing so hard in the last part of the track to make up for what you lose on the straight.”
“I think that if this was track was all corners, and no straight, Carlos and I could have finished first and second today. In the second race I had a better pace than in the first, and so even though I finished tenth, it meant I was only ten seconds from the winner, which is pretty good. We were all very close in race 2. I’m also satisfied that I came in as the second Ducati after the one ridden by the world champion Carlos, I don’t think that’s bad either. It wasn’t easy today, Carlos and I have to battle just to stay in the middle, just to stay close to those with superior top speed. Anyway, I’ve taken some points and now we move on. I thank my team for all their hard work over the weekend.”
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Biaggi (Aprilia); 2. Melandri (BMW); 3. Checa (Ducati). Race 2 – 1. Melandri (BMW); 2. Laverty (Aprilia); 3. Davies (Aprilia)
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Biaggi (Aprilia) 248.5; 2. Melandri (BMW) 200.5; 3. Rea (Honda) 183; 4. Checa 175.5; 5. Sykes (Kawasaki) 172.5; 6. Haslam (BMW) 142; 7. Laverty (Aprilia) 126; 8. Guintoli (Ducati) 110; 9. Giugliano (Ducati) 94;