Friday, July 3


He may have been retired for 18 months but Carlos Checa has maintained a high level of fitness.  A keen mountain-biker and rock-climber, Checa's fitness was put to the test in three arduous days at the Mugello circuit in Italy, testing the Ducati Panigale R Superbike this week.

Despite very hot conditions over all three days, Checa clocked up 150 laps, substituting for injured factory tester Luca Scassa.  Although no lap times were released by Ducati, they say he lapped at the pace set by Chaz Davies and Davide Guilgliano at the Mugello Superbike World Championship round.

The former world champion worked hard over the three days, making all of the experience gained over his long career available to the Ducati Corse technicians, with the aim of giving the team information and feedback with which to continue development of the Panigale Superbike.

On track since Tuesday morning, the Italian squad initially focused on giving the Spanish rider the right confidence with the bike and the track. 

Checa proved to be at ease riding the latest evolution of the Panigale Superbike right from his opening laps.  The schedule then involved the testing of some technical updates and, taking advantage of the high temperatures, on the identification of the best set-up with which to keep the performance of the Panigale R constant in extreme conditions such as those experienced over the three days at Mugello. 

The stable weather conditions allowed the team to work uninterrupted, with the Spaniard achieving impressive lap times, in line with the best obtained on race tyres at the Tuscan track.

Carlos Checa:
“I was pleased to ride the Panigale again and to be fast right away.  It was really emotional to work with those people who helped me achieve my past results.  I hope that my work over these three days has helped the team to further improve the bike, which has really grown a lot recently.  I thank Ducati and the whole development team for having given me the chance to enjoy the excitement of the track once more.  I had a lot of fun and who knows, perhaps I'll have another chance to test in the future.”

Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati SBK Project Director:

“It’s been emotional and informative working with Carlos once again.  There is always something to be learned from a rider with his level of experience and, as is usual with him, feedback has been clear and precise.  We have carried out an intense testing programme and the fact we’ve had high temperatures this week has allowed us to work on rear grip and race consistency in extreme conditions such as these.  Work that will undoubtedly prove useful in the next races.  Carlos came here in good shape: to complete more than 150 laps at Mugello with these temperatures is certainly not easy but he’s been very consistent throughout.”