Carlos Checa gave it his all this afternoon at Motorland Aragon, taking a third place finish in Race 2 that was particularly appreciated by the Spanish fans at Carlos’ home track after crashing in the first race whilst chasing down early leaders Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri. Checa set a new lap record just before high siding out of the race.
In Race 1 Althea Racing’s rider found himself in third place through the first corners. Even though his pace in the opening laps was not particularly quick, he improved a lot from the third lap onwards, finding his rhythm and recording very fast times, each lap quicker than the last. Chasing down Melandri and Biaggi, who had an advantage of around 1.5 seconds but a pace slightly slower than that of the Spaniard, Carlos made the quickest lap of the race overall on the seventh lap (1m58.862), a new lap record.
Unfortunately in the second split of the eighth lap Checa was victim of a highside that signified the end of his race, though the rider was fortunately unhurt in the incident and able to participate in the second race of the day.
In the second race, even though he lost a couple of positions off the line, he immediately made them back up by passing Camier, Fabrizio and Sykes in the space of two laps, to place himself third at the fifth lap. Unfortunately the distance between him and race leaders, Biaggi and Melandri, was too big and despite his best efforts Checa was unable to reach them. In the final stages he began to suffer from a drop in tyre performance; the bike slid around, his times increased as a result and the Spanish rider had to content himself with third position.
After the seventh round of the championship, Team Althea Racing and Carlos Checa continue to lead; Checa holds 261 points and an advantage of 43 over Biaggi in second. Ducati leads the manufacturer’s championship with 273 points to Aprilia’s 257.
Carlos Checa DNF, 3rd:- “I am disappointed because it would have been fantastic to win here in front of the Spanish fans. We didn’t need the Race 1 crash. I was pushing hard to close the gap between me and the leader and I slipped. I was slowly catching them and so I’m sorry because it could have been a great race. I don’t know if I would have been able to win but I wanted to at least catch them. Anyway this is racing and I was lucky to be able to take part in race 2, despite some shoulder pain. This was a lesson today and I will learn from it. We changed the tyre for Race 2 and this was an intelligent decision but I wasn’t able to close the gap that opened between me and the leaders. In the final stages the bike began to move around and I couldn’t gain any more ground. I am however satisfied. We know that we’re in great shape, me, the team, the bike and we’ll go the the next round at Brno where we’ll continue to fight for race wins and for the championship.”
Race 1 – 1. Melandri (Yamaha); 2. Biaggi (Aprilia); 3. Camier (Aprilia).
Race 2 – 1. Biaggi (Aprilia); 2. Melandri (Yamaha); 3. Checa
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Checa (Ducati) 261; 2. Biaggi (Aprilia) 218; 3. Melandri (Yamaha) 195; 4. Laverty (Yamaha) 146; 5. Camier (Aprilia) 125; 6. Haslam (BMW) 120; 7. Fabrizio (Suzuki) 108; 8. Rea (Honda) 94
Manufacturers – Ducati 273; Aprilia 257; Yamaha 235; BMW 153; Suzuki 112; Honda 111; Kawasaki 111
Source: Althea Racing