World Superbike Test
The first official tests of the 2011 World Superbike season, organized by Infront Sports, got off to an overcast start this morning at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, Portugal.
Almost every Superbike team is present at this three-day test session, including Team Althea Racing Ducati, on track with Spanish rider Carlos Checa.
Despite a small crash early on in the opening session, Checa was able to return to the track where, rather than concentrating on times, he and his technicians worked to fine tune the Ducati superbike.
In the second session, that took place in the early afternoon, small modifications made to the bike allowed the Spaniard to make a much quicker start, dropping his best superbike time of the morning by almost two seconds.
Unfortunately, a rain shower only a few minutes into the session forced riders to retire temporarily to the pit garage but in the later stages, on dry asphalt, Carlos further improved on his time, ducking under the 1m44 barrier to record the fifth fastest time of the day, 1m43.7.
Carols Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) says: "It was a bit strange at the start because during the long winter break I rode the GP bike, an enduro, trial bike, motocross so to come back to the twin took me a bit of time.
"We started with a bike and a set up that was slightly different but once I gained confidence, I was able to make some solid progress. I’d say that we’re at a good starting point, me as a rider but also the bike and the team.
"We closed last season at a high level and I think we’ve regained some of those feelings again today. The real work starts tomorrow but I can say that I am very happy to be back on track and the entire team, slightly different in configuration, is ready for the season to start in earnest."
World Superbike Portimao Test Results (Day 1) – 1. Smrz (Ducati) 1’43.5; 2. Rea (Honda) 1’43.6; 3. Laverty (Yamaha) 1’43.7; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’43.7; 5. Checa (Ducati) 1’43.7; 6. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’43.8; 7. Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1’43.8; 8. Guintoli (Ducati) 1’44.3