Sunday, October 3


SPANISH Superbike rider Carlos Checa signed on with the Italian Team Althea Racing outfit for another two seasons, on Ducati 1198R V-twins, it was announced at the Imola round of the championship on September 26.

The 38-year-old Checa celebrated the news in style, winning both Superbike races at the narrow, winding Italian circuit with team manager Genesio Bevilacqua celebrating with him on the podium.

It seems that Bevilacqua, a big fan of the booming Bologna V-twins, has been promised major technical support from Ducati, which had already announced its withdrawal from the SWC series in terms of running a factory team.

In a typically flowery Italian press release, the team says: "With Checa on board, Team Althea Racing will attack the world championship, strengthened by both the experience gained during the current season and the relationship, one of reciprocal trust, built up between the team and Ducati.

"Thanks to the two year agreement signed with Checa and to Ducati for the precious support, we will strive to achieve great things", said Bevilacqua. "Carlos will help to develop the Italian manufacturer's racing activity and I am sure that we will make a good job of it. Carlos has already found the perfect mental balance so as to be able to get the best out of this bike and the team and therefore I have every confidence with regard to the future."

However, British rider Shane Byrne, who, it has to be said, has not exactly shone on the team's Ducatis this year, will not be continuing with the team in 2011.

"We have had a great relationship with Shane but unfortunately the economics of the situation will not allow us to continue to work with him. We do not however exclude the possibility of running a second bike," the team press release adds.

Team Althea Racing will enter promising 20-year-old Italian youngster Lorenzo Baroni in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup.

Having ridden in the 125 category until 2006, Baroni has participated in Superstock 1000 since 2007 and is considered one of the category's "experts". Althea Racing and Bevilacqua have followed the young rider's progress with interest and, convinced that he can be successful in 2011, have decided to bet on his character, talent and ambition. Baroni has the potential to be one of the protagonists of the championship.

"This decision is the result of a specific strategy", concludes Bevilacqua. "As well as challenging in the World Superbike Championship, we will also concentrate on identifying and developing new talents in a category that provides riders with great training. My challenge for the coming year, only possible thanks to the support of partners Stevenson & Bridley Associates and Bellariva Group, will be to draw out Lorenzo's full potential, guaranteeing maximum support from both a sporting and technical standpoint, with a view to launching him in the Superbike category in the future."

And it is to the future the team must look, as by 2012, Checa will be 40...