A day of highs and lows for the Althea Racing team and its riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano today at the Czech track of Brno. At a track that is traditionally not so kind to the Ducati, Checa obtained an impressive third and fourth place finish in the day’s two SBK races while for Giugliano is was a more difficult day; he crashed in race one before closing race two in eleventh position.
Race 1 – Mixed conditions for race 1 caused confusion on the grid as riders did not know whether wet, intermediate or slick tyres would be best suited to the tricky conditions. In the end Carlos opted for slicks while Davide went with a wet and at the end of the opening lap both were up front, Davide in second place, followed by Carlos, third.
While Giugliano fought with Sykes for first position, Checa battled it out with the chasing pack, with riders including Baz and Smrz. Unfortunately on the third lap Davide’s tyre choice proved to be a wrong one and he crashed out, putting paid to what would have surely been a great race for him. At a certain point Carlos lost a couple of positions but quickly caught back up, passing Melandri and then Berger and Baz to move into third place.
In the final stages of the race Althea man Carlos was battling with Melandri for the final podium spot and if it had not been for Rea’s unfortunate crash right in front of him, the Spaniard would have surely achieved his goal. He had to settle for final fourth position, recording the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap and collecting the Pirelli Best Lap Award as a result.
Race 2 – Once again both Althea men got away well and were in fourth (Carlos) and fifth (Davide) place at the end of lap one. By lap three Checa had passed Laverty, moving into third place. From there he started to push to catch leaders Sykes and Melandri but unfortunately the two leaders had a slightly better pace and the Spaniard had trouble sticking with them. He was nevertheless able to hold his position until the finish line, earning himself a third place finish and valuable championship points.
After only a few laps Davide started to suffer due to a lack of grip at the front, and the problem only worsened as the race progressed. As a result, he was unable to keep with the leading pack and lost several positions. He lost more ground in the final phases but was able to cross the line, in eventual eleventh place, and score a handful of useful points in the process. After this ninth round, Checa lies in fourth position in the championship standings with 204.5 points while Davide is ninth with 99 points. Ducati slips to third place in the manufacturer’s championship with 276.5 points, behind BMW and Aprilia.
Carlos Checa: “We knew it would be hard at this track so I think we can be happy with third and fourth place finishes today. Despite the difficulties on the grid and at the start of race 1, I was able to stick with those ahead of me and maintain a good pace. I admit I had my doubts on the grid because there is no way of knowing whether conditions will change during the race but we made the right tyre choice. Having said that it was hard – I had trouble catching and then passing those in front. So, all things considered, and bearing in mind that Rea crashed in front of me on the last lap, final fourth position wasn’t so bad. Then, in race 2, I started to lose grip in the final stages. There was no way I could keep up with Tom and Marco but I’m pleased that I was able to stay close and take third place. The team has worked really well together and it’s also thanks to the harmony in the garage that I was able to take these results today.”
Davide Giugliano: “What a pity about race 1. It was my mistake because on the grid we were deciding which tyre to use and I didn’t want to go out on slicks. It was the wrong decision and after a couple of laps it was impossible to ride and I crashed. It’s a shame because I felt really fast and though I don’t know whether I could have fought for the win, I could surely have been a podium contender. In the second race I had grip issues right from lap two onwards. It became increasingly difficult to manage the situation and I lost a lot of ground. I thank my team for all their hard work this weekend because, even if we didn’t take the results that we wanted, we know that was have the pace and are competitive. Let’s see what we can do now in the upcoming races.”
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Melandri (BMW); 2. Sykes (Kawasaki); 3. Baz (Kawasaki). Race 2 – 1. Melandri (BMW); 2. Sykes (Kawasaki); 3. Checa (Ducati)
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. 1. Biaggi (Aprilia) 271.5; 2. Melandri (BMW) 250.5; 3. Syeks (Kawsaki) 212.5; 4. Checa (Ducati) 204.5; Rea (Honda) 187; 6. Haslam (BMW) 160; 7. Laverty (Aprilia) 148; 8. Guintoli (Ducati) 110; 9. Giugliano (Ducati) 99; 10. Davies (Aprilia) 93.
Manufacturers– BMW 292; Aprilia 290; Ducati 276.5; Kawasaki 218.5; Honda 193; Suzuki 72.5
Source: Althea Racing
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