2011 World Superbike
Ernesto Marinelli, Ducati Corse Superbike technical director, has been giving his thoughts on Carlos Checa's double win at the opening WSBK round in Australia.
The 38-year-old Catalan rider's results for the Althea Racing Team at Phillip Island propelled Ducati to the top of the championship table, a position they have not held since Magny-Cours in October 2009.
Q. Ernesto Marinelli, Ducati couldn't have had a better start to the season. Did you expect that?
Ernesto Marinelli says: "Phillip Island is a circuit that adapts well to the characteristics of our 1198. The developments made in the last couple of years have led to very good grip in the early and mid acceleration phase and in the long fast curves of Phillip Island this helps a lot. But the job done by Carlos and the entire Althea team was also fundamental.
"Checa's strategy was good, the bike was perfect and they made the right choice of tyres. We struggled a bit on the straight because our twin-cylinder doesn't have the same acceleration as the fours but Carlos was very quick at the start and managed to pull out a slight advantage that proved to be decisive."
Q. Checa had two outstanding races. What are his most important qualities from a technical point of view?
Ernesto Marinelli says: "Carlos interpreted to perfection the characteristics of Phillip Island, it's a very technical track where it's not enough just to be quick.
"You have to race with your head in order not to put undue stress on the left side of the tyre. If you always push to the limit the tyre deteriorates rapidly and you end up going slower due to little grip, but if you put on a harder tyre the performance level goes down".
Q. Ducati are back at the top of the standings once again. What are the prospects for the next few races?
Ernesto Marinelli says: "Checa and the other Ducati riders suffer on the faster tracks. If we want to win the title we have to attack on the twisty circuits. Unfortunately this year we don't have Valencia, which was another ideal track for us, it's been replaced by Aragon which has a long straight... "
Q. Commenting on Checa's win, your MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi said that in a few years time he wouldn't mind coming to Superbike. Can you tell him that we are waiting for him impatiently...
Ernesto Marinelli says: "As soon as I meet him, I'll tell him!"