Ducati’s Checa Tops Superbike Test, Day 1

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2012 World Superbike Testing

Last week, when Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa participated in a private three-day test at Phillip Island, Australia, the reigning World Superbike Champion topped the time sheets, posting a (unofficial, team-recorded) 1:38.8.

And the Spaniard continued his Phillip Island reign Monday, once again taking the top lap time after the first day of two in the first official test of 2012 World Superbike.

Checa, who put in 71 laps testing various Pirelli tires, was the only rider to post under the 1:32 mark Monday. The Ducati 1198 rider lapped Phillip Island at 1:31.947, despite the extra 13.2 lbs. of “extra weight that the Ducati machines are carrying this year in accordance with championship regulations.”

To put into perspective, during last year’s Phillip Island official test session, Checa posted a best lap of 1:30.578, which was also the top time of the entire test.

Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati 1198 Superbike) says: “I’m pretty happy. We’re still up there with the times, though it seems difficult to improve beyond that point. Today we continued to work on set-up, with the suspension and the electronics, trying to find the best compromise when it comes to performance.

“Tomorrow we still have a few small things to work on and we’ll look at the tires again of course as tire choice for this weekend’s races will be extremely important. So tomorrow we’ll get everything in line as much as possible and then our concentration turns to the first races of the season!”

Aprilia Racing’s Max Biaggi was the second fastest rider, trailing Checa by 0.185 of a second. The 2010 World SBK Champion took advantage of the warmer afternoon track conditions (79 degrees F), posting a 1:32.132 aboard the Aprilia RSV4 Superbike.

Behind Biaggi was BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri, who posted a 1:32.232 aboard the S1000RR, a full second faster than his times last week in the private testing.

The next six riders all posted within a second of Checa, possible a preview of how tight things will run during the 2012 World Superbike Championship. These riders were Jonathan Rea (Honda, 1:32,379), Leon Haslam (BMW, 1:32.397), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki, 1:32.465), Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati, 1:32.768), Niccola Canepa (1:32.836), Jakub Smrz (Ducati, 1:32.848).

Although Haslam was fifth fastest, the Brit did sustain a crash during the morning. Further examination revealed that Haslam fractured his right tibia, which may require surgery.

The 2012 World SBK grid will return to Phillip Island Tuesday for the second and final day of official testing ahead of the season opener this Sunday, Feb. 26.

2012 World Superbike: Phillip Island Test, Day 1 Results:
1. 7 Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’31.947
2. 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’32.132
3. 33 Melandri M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.232
4. 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.379
5. 91 Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.397
6. 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.465
7. 50 Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’32.768
8. 59 Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’32.836
9. 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’32.848
10. 17 Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.005
11. 2 Camier L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’33.104
12. 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’33.141
13. 121 Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’33.246
14. 34 Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’33.366
15. 4 Aoyama H. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’33.479
16. 87 Zanetti L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’33.566
17. 67 Staring B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.704
18. 44 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.812
19. 86 Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’34.234
20. 19 Davies C. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’34.303
21. 35 De Rosa R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’34.400
22. 25 Brookes J. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’34.667
23. 18 Aitchison M. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’35.223