After the first tests, we were confident that Carlos Checa, wearing his new X-802 would be a contender! Dominating almost all the free and timed test sessions. Race 1 saw Carlos starting from the front row, unfortunately, his early expecations were somewhat dashed by a tyre proving to be too hard. After a race long battle, he settled for a fine 6th, but he knew there was more to come...
Race 2 saw a determined Carlos somewhat swamped from the start, languishing in a lowly 11th after the first lap, Carlos set about the pack with a determination and spirit reminiscent of the Bull's Grand Prix years! His tyre choice better, he rapidly hauled in the guy's in front of him and after dispatching Fabrizio set about chasing Guintoli and race one victor, Haslam on the Suzuki's. A last lap, penultimate corner move saw Carlos glide past Haslam for the team's maiden victory in Superbike and a superb winning start for Carlos and his all new X-802.
After the race Carlos commented: "My second race was perfect. In race one we chose a tyre too hard, so I couldn't brake near to the limit. In race two, instead, the tyre was better and I could brake in a more decided manner. I also found a good rythm and I was able to overtake easily the other riders. Probably, my drive style helped me to save the tyres and so I came at the beginning of the last race in second position and I also overtook Haslam. I would overtake him before, but he never left me enough space and so I managed to overtake him only in the final. I'm really happy for this victory, because it is the first with Althea Team and my Ducati 1198. We have the chance to fight at high levels for the entire championship. My thanks go to all the team for his best job and his total commitment."
Max Neukirchener had a weekend to forget, scoring 12th in race 1 and out fo the points in race 2.
Checa is third in the general standings.
Next appointment is the 28th March in Portugal.