Motorcycle Racing News Carlos Checa Flees Retirement for Ducati SBK Test

Carlos Checa Flees Retirement for Ducati SBK Test

Carlos Checa Returns for Ducati SBK Testing

Carlos Checa Flees Retirement for Ducati SBK Test
Carlos Checa aboard the Ducati 1199 Panigale R

Following the 2013 World Superbike Championship – the first season for the Ducati 1199 Panigale R – Carlos Checa retired from motorcycle racing.

Checa had spent the previous-three years competing for the Althea Racing team aboard a Ducati 1098R, and absorbed much success. His performances aboard the 1098R – that retained the trellis frame over the Panigale’s monocoque – were highlighted in 2011 with a title win.

That season, Carlos Checa became the first Spaniard – and still the only so far – to earn a World Superbike Championship. He claimed 15 race wins in 13 rounds, and earned Ducati its 17th manufacturer’s title; it was also the first one for Ducati since Troy Bayliss in 2008 (1098 F08).

Since retirement, Checa has stayed close with Ducati. Back in February, Ducati gave Checa the first 2015 Multistrada 1200 with the new DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) engine to roll off the assembly line. And this relationship continued this week at Mugello, where the 42-year-old Checa spent three days testing for the Ducati SBK development team aboard the Panigale R superbike. Checa was on hand to replace Ducati SBK’s normal test rider Lucca Scassa, who was injured during Misano SBK.

For three days at the Italian circuit, Checa worked closely with Ducati Corse technicians. He supplied feedback on the Panigale R that has recently performed better in World SBK, but continues to struggle compared to bikes like the Kawasaki ZX-10R and Aprilia RSV4.

Ducati says “the stable weather conditions allowed the team to work uninterrupted, with the Spaniard completing more than 150 laps over the three days and achieving impressive lap times, in line with the best obtained on race tires at the Tuscan track.”

Carlos Checa Flees RetirementSpeaking after the test, Checa said “I was pleased to ride the Panigale again and to be fast right away. It was really emotional to work with those people who helped me achieve my past results. I hope that my work over these three days has helped the team to further improve the bike, which has really grown a lot recently.

“I thank Ducati and the whole development team for having given me the chance to enjoy the excitement of the track once more. I had a lot of fun and who knows, perhaps I’ll have another chance to test in the future.”

Ernesto Marinelli, Ducati SBK Project Director, also commented: “It’s been emotional and informative working with Carlos once again. There is always something to be learned from a rider with his level of experience and, as is usual with him, feedback has been clear and precise.

“We have carried out an intense testing program and the fact we’ve had high temperatures this week has allowed us to work on rear grip and race consistency in extreme conditions such as these. Work that will undoubtedly prove useful in the next races. Carlos came here in good shape, to complete more than 150 laps at Mugello with these temperatures is certainly not easy but he’s been very consistent throughout.”

The next race for Ducati SBK team is round nine of the World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca July 17-19 – the only round of 2015 SBK to be held in America.

After eight rounds, the top Ducati rider is factory pilot Chaz Davies, who is in fourth with 213 points – 162 behind series leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team).

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

2022 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster First Look: New Fork and More

The 2022 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster gets a more responsive motor with additional midrange power from the vertical-twin 1200HT engine. The powerplant also meets Euro...

Avon Tyres + Blood Bikes = Motorcycles Saving Lives

We’ve all heard of blood banks, but this is the first time we have heard of blood bikes. Leicestershire & Rutland Blood Bikes is...

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone 100th Anniversary First Look

Back in December, we gave you a first look at the new 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 lineup. The big news was an increase in...

2022 Triumph Bonneville Bobber First Look (11 Fast Facts)

The 2022 Triumph Bonneville Bobber enjoys a wide range of updates that include functional and aesthetic. The changes are, in part, to meet Euro...

2021 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS RC First Look (9 Fast Facts)

The 2021 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS RC is the new flagship of the urban-brawling Dragster lineup. The RC stands for Reparto Corse, and...

2022 Triumph Bonneville T100 First Look (9 Fast Facts)

The Triumph Bonneville T100 gets a more powerful and higher-revving motor for 2022,  along with a lighter chassis and upgraded suspension as the British...