2011 World Superbike
Not only did Carlos Checa deliver Ducati its 14th World Superbike title and Spain its first, the 38-year old also completed this task at the penultimate round of competition.
At that round in Magny-Cours, France, Checa won both races, making for an impressive 14 wins within 12 rounds; Checa now joins the history books with two other riders who took 14 wins in a season – Ben Spies (Yamaha, 2009) and Troy Bayliss (Ducati, 2002). The only rider to win more is Doug Polen, who took 17 (Ducati, 1991).
After winning the 2011 World Superbike Championship, the pressure was on from the media, with many questions needed to be answered.
Following is a short Carlos Checa interview from World Superbike:
When asked about how he managed to win a championship after many years of racing, Carlos Checa stated, "My career has been long and you never know if this championship can happen. I always tried to improve and enjoy tried to be involved in this world and make it like school – where I grow up in all ways. I rode a Superbike in Ten Kate at first, which I appreciated, and then with Genesio (Bevilacqua, his team owner) it was like an adventure, trying out a two-cylinder machine. I thought I could ride this bike and be comfortable and we had some magic moments, especially this year."
As Checa explains, his championship may have come along in 2011, but it was also due to some great work put in during 2010, on a very similar machine. "These moments did not come alone. We made some improvements this year but we did a lot of improvements last year. I feel even stronger now than I did at the beginning of 2011. This is good, I will keep working for next year, but I want to enjoy this moment too."
When asked why 2011 was the year he won a world championship, especially at much nearer 40 years of age rather than 30, Checa explained," You need the team and the bike and many things together to become a world champion. During my career I had some good moments but if I did not win before it was because I was not as good as now. Especially because I did not have the right team and the right bike. This moment arrived, at the right moment."
Checa’s smooth style and near-faultless consistency made his winning season look easy but Carlos confirmed it was far from it. "It is not only the way to be fast, it is how to understand sometimes why you are not fast.
"You must be honest with yourself and your team. You need also to absorb and digest, pressure. There are moments like at Magny-Cours, or Imola, and some other races. At the end of the day we are humans and we have capabilities and weak points.
"In the past we had some good moments, technically, but I feel that it probably mentally I made some mistakes. It is easy to make a mistake! I realized this and tried to improve. I have improved under braking and especially in turning right hand corners. We have made the right decisions with the bike and made the right moves on the track. Personally this is the greatest satisfaction I have."
The 2011 World Superbike Championship concludes Oct. 16 at Portimao, and Checa will surely be looking to add two more race-wins to his already outstanding season.