Carlos Checa surprised everyone...
Carlos Checa surprised everyone - including himself - by snagging the top spot at the official World Superbike test at Phillip Island on Tuesday.
Prior to the first official test for the World Superbike contingent at Phillip Island in Australia, things weren’t looking too good for the Team SBK Ducati Alstare team. The day after his arrival prior to the team’s private test at the circuit last week, Checa fell ill with severe stomach pains and nausea, necessitating a trip to the hospital. The former World Superbike champion was diagnosed with a blocked intestine, forcing him to miss the two-day test. With Checa out, testing duties fell onto the shoulders of teammate Ayrton Badovini, but then the former World Superstock champion suffered a nasty high-speed highside crash in turn 9 that ended his test on the morning of the second day. Thus, the Team SBK Ducati Alstare team entered the official WSBK test at Phillip Island this week more like the walking wounded than a factory-supported race team.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon...
FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier was the star of Day 1, proving that the off-season engine development is paying off.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier was the star of Day 1, continuing his strong form from last week’s test where he was also the man on top of the leaderboard (despite demolishing his bike on the last day of last week’s test in a high-speed crash in the final turn). Meanwhile, Checa was lurking near the top five in sixth, but not many were paying attention to him, and teammate Badovini was sitting out the first day to recover from his injuries (bruised liver and ribs) from last week’s test. As Day 2 dawned, early morning rains had wet the tarmac, but the surface was drying quickly; still, many riders were wary of the track after quite a few were bit during the previous private test and suffered nasty crashes.
Checa wasn’t deterred, and made use of the track time that he missed out on to continue dialing in the Ducati 1199 Panigale. And then when the track completely dried, the Spaniard surprised everyone at the Phillip Island World Superbike test—including himself—by snatching the top spot with a time that was nearly two-tenths better than Camier’s best set on Monday.
“I honestly didn’t believe that we’d be at this level at this point,” said a surprised Checa. “I thought I’d finish about seventh. I’m extremely happy with the results; it was a nice surprise to make the fastest lap, with everybody riding in the same conditions. We were already able to find a good base setting yesterday and then continued to work from there today. I like the fact that every change we make to this bike is positive and it seems that everything we do results in us going in the right direction. The team are working really well together and this is the first time this year that we’ve had good conditions that have allowed us to spend a lot of time on the bike. Working on this new project right now is one of the most satisfying moments of my life. It is an exciting challenge and today’s results show that the bike has great potential and that there is still room for improvement.”
World Superbike test Phillip Island overall times:
1. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati 1:31.059
2. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1:31.237
3. Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki 1:31.243
4. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1:31.261
5. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia 1:31.350
6. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda 1:31.356
7. Leon Haslam (GBR) Honda 1:31.396
8. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1:31.452
9. Davide Giugliano (ITA) Aprilia 1:31.640
10. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 1:31.658
11. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Suzuki 1:32.044
12. Chaz Davies (GBR) BMW 1:32.077
13. Glen Allerton (AUS) BMW 1:32.159
14. Jamie Stauffer (AUS) Honda 1:32.231
15. Loris Baz (FRA) Kawasaki 1:32.625
16. Ivan Clementi (ITA) BMW 1:32.789
17. Vittorio Iannuzzo (ITA) BMW 1:32.880
18. Federico Sandi (ITA) Kawasaki 1:32.964
19. Alexander Lundh (SWE) Kawasaki 1:33.447
20. Max Neukirchner (GER) Ducati 1:33.541
21. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) Ducati 1:33.686