Althea Ducati SBK Race Report
Cloudy sky and dry truck today in Phillip Island for the first World Superbike races of the season. The Althea racing team riders worked on the last minute adjustments of their Ducati 1198 bikes during the morning warm up, in order to be ready for the two 22-laps Superbike races. Due to yesterday Superpole upshots, today Carlos Checa lined up from the first row and Shakey Byrne from the fifth.
In race one not a good start for Checa. The Spanish riders did not take advantage from his start from the first row of the grid. In the first few laps Checa was sixth and teammate Shakey, after quite a quick start, was seventeenth. Near to the middle of the race Checa was battling for fourth in a group of six riders while Byrne made up several places up to fourteenth. Checa ended the first race in seventh place and Byrne obtained the fourteenth position.
Also in race two Carlos did not start quickly from the first row, ending the first lap in eighth place. Fifteenth place for Byrne in the first few laps. As the race proceed Checa was able to recover some position and near to the middle of the race he reached the first group of riders in fifth place. Also Byrne recovered quickly and in a few laps he was up tenth position, but caught up in the third group of riders, he was unable to make much progress and concluded in twelfth place.
With few laps to go Checa moved up to fourth position and with some incredible overtaking he worked his way up through the field to pass Guintoli, Fabrizio and Haslam to take the lead on the very last lap snatching an extraordinary first victory for Althea racing team.
Carlos Checa Speaks… SBK Phillip Island
"The second race was perfect. In race one we chose a tyre that was perhaps too hard for the conditions and I found it hard to brake. In race two we selected a better tyre and I could brake much more strongly, I also had a very good pace and was able to pass riders fairly easily. My style of riding actually seemed to mean that tyre wear was less of a problem for me than for some other riders. By the last lap I was up in second and I could finally get pass Haslam. I wanted to pass him earlier but it was impossible and he didn’t leave me space to pass until the very end. I am of course extremely happy with the result, it is my first race with the Althea team and on the Ducati 1198 and we have a good package with which to fight this season. My thanks go to the entire team for their hard work and dedication."
Shane Byrne Speaks… SBK Phillip Island
"The first race I made it was very difficult for myself, I knew I had to make as many passes as possible to get near the front. I pushed to pass Guintoli and Sykes and couldn’t make it, so had to go straight. A small problem with the rear brake and it was hard to turn, but anyway I recovered and had good rhythm so I was happy with it, though not so happy with the result. The first thing to say about race two is congratulations to Carlos and to the whole team for the win. Genesio and the team have put together a very competitive machine. There are too many fast riders to be able to start from 18th and expect a good finish, but I got up as far as about tenth place which wasn’t so bad, having been caught up in battles with several riders. Today we have seen that there are many riders that can fight for race wins, the level of riding is very good. We go home and concentrate on preparations for Portimao."
Genesio Bevilacqua Speaks… SBK Phillip Island
"What can I say? An incredible day. It’s the first round of the season and as a team we were well prepared but we didn’t expect a Carlos Checa in such amazing form today. It’s difficult to win a race at this level and we are extremely satisfied. We worked very hard over recent months to be ready for this weekend, during testing, and so this is an amazing result. Shakey was unfortunately not in perfect shape after the earlier crash but he made good pace in race two and we look forward to Portimao where we know he can be strong. Particular thanks goes to Ducati as it is due to their support that we are here today and celebrating this success. Thanks also to the whole team as their hard work over recent months had led to this incredible result today."
SBK Race 1 Results: 1) Haslam (Suzuki) – 2) Fabrizio (Ducati) – 3) Haga (Ducati) – 4) Rea (Honda) – 5) Biaggi (Aprilia) – 6) Guintoli (Suzuki) – 7) Checa (Ducati) …….. 14) Byrne (Ducati)
SBK Race 2 Results: 1) Checa (Ducati) – 2) Haslam (Suzuki) – 3) Fabrizio (Ducati) – 4) Guintoli (Suzuki) – 5) Haga (Ducati) – 6) Rea (Honda) – 7) Corser (BMW) …….. 12) Byrne (Ducati)