Spaniard Carlos Checa defied the pain barrier to take the first Superpole of the season on the all-new Ducati 1199 Panigale. Despite riding with a bruised shoulder and foot, Carlos blasted his way round the 4.445 kilometre circuit in 1:30.234, to finish nearly two tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rival.
Before the day began there was some doubt as to whether Carlos would be strong enough to qualify for the latter stages of Superpole but, thanks to superb work by the Clinica Mobile’s medical staff and the Ducati Alstare mechanics (who made the bike easier to ride), the Spaniard was able to ride almost pain free and attack Superpole right from the start. Carlos’ Superpole victory made up for the team’s disappointment this morning when it was discovered that Ayrton Badovini had broken a bone in his right foot and would be unable to take part in the the rest of the weekend.
Carlos Checa 1:30.234
“Winning Superpole was a great surprise for me and is down to all the hard work put in by my mechanics, the physios and the rest of the Clinica Mobile medical staff. This morning, I felt pain in both my shoulder and foot and I really didn’t think I’d be competitive in qualifying and Superpole. The mechanics did a great job and made the bike easier for me to ride and by the time Superpole started this afternoon, I felt pretty good really – better than I thought I would! In Superpole, I felt no pain and could attack without a problem. I like this track and have a lot of experience here, so I was able to push hard, but I really didn’t think I’d be able to go so fast and the lap time was a bit of a surprise to me.
I like the challenge of this project. Me and the team are all growing together and that is exciting for all us. Today was good, but we’ll have to see how the bike is in race conditions and also how the tyres perform after a lot of laps. Hopefully we’ll be competitive tomorrow and I can be in the mix at the end of the race. These past few days have been like heaven and hell. I missed some days testing because I was sick. Then I had a big crash yesterday and today we won Superpole!”
Francis Batta (Team Owner)
“I’m very satisfied. Carlos and the team have worked hard and done a great job in a very short time. I am a bit surprised at our Superpole victory today because we didn’t have much track time at Jerez in January because of the weather and so all the improvements have been done here in Australia. We’ve made a lot of progress in a very short time on a bike that is very different to anything else in WSBK. The team is a very good fusion of Alstare and Ducati and together we hope to realise the potential of the bike and be competitive at every track.”
“When I crashed yesterday, I hurt my right foot. I didn’t have it X-rayed because I wanted to see how it was after a night’s sleep. But when I woke up this morning, I could see that it was very swollen, so I went to the Clinica Mobile for some X-rays. They showed that I had broken a bone in my foot, in the heel area, and that it would not be possible to race. The foot was put in plaster and I was told not to put any weight on it at all. I will fly home on Monday and will then go and see my specialist some time next week, when the situation will be reassessed. Normally, this kind of break needs about thirty-five days, so there is no reason why I cannot ride at Aragon. After my crash in the official tests, this new injury is not what I needed. I am disappointed that I am not able to help carry on the development of this bike and sorry that I will miss the races.”
Final qualifying and Superpole
- Carlos Checa (ESP-Ducati Alstare) 1:30.324
- Eugene Laverty (GBR-Aprilia) 1:30.429
- Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Aprilia) 1:30.581
- Tom Sykes (GBR-Kawasaki) 1:30.615
- Marco Melandri (ITA-BMW) 1:30.615
- Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Aprilia) 1:30.683….
Source: Team SBK Ducati Alstare
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