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Sep 18, 2012

Carlos Checa: "Last Year We Were Going A Lot Better While This Year We’re Struggling"


Portimao (Portugal), Tuesday 18th September 2012: this weekend sees the eni Superbike World Championship move on to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal for the penultimate round of the 2012 season. Team Althea Racing, participating with riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano, will be doing its best to round off the year with the best possible results.

Two weeks ago it was the Nurburgring's turn to host the World Superbikes but despite its high hopes, team Althea Racing has another difficult race day against their four cylinder rivals. Race one came to a premature end for Giugliano while Checa crashed, rejoined and finished in eventual twelfth position; race 2 saw the Althea pair cross the line in sixth and seventh place respectively. As the Althea team arrives at Portimao for the penultimate event of the 2012 season, Carlos is in fourth place (247.5 points) in the standings while Davide is tenth (125). Ducati lies third in the manufacturer's championship with 342 points.

Portimao was the final event of the 2011 calendar and for Carlos Checa it was a chance to close his championship winning year in style. Having already secured the rider's title at the previous round of Magny-Cours, the pressure was off but Carlos was eager to fight for another race win. He achieved his objective by taking victory in race 1, his 15th win of the 2011 season, before closing the second race in fourth place.

Last year's Portimao event gave the newly crowned Superstock 1000 champion Davide Giugliano his first taste of Superbike racing, with team Althea Racing allowing him to wildcard alongside Checa in the SBK season's closing round. Giugliano made good progress throughout the weekend and was rewarded with a handful of championship points in Sunday's second race. Both riders are looking forward to racing in Portugal this weekend, at a track they both enjoy.

Carlos Checa:
"It's difficult because we usually use the data from the previous year's race but, as we saw in Germany, last year we were going a lot better while this year we're struggling and so those references are not so useful. Nevertheless Portimao is a fun track with undulations that really make the rider work hard. I'll face this weekend with the usual philosophy, I'll do my best to adapt to the conditions and make the most of both the bike and my ability. We'll see what we are able to do."

Checa's Superbike form at Portimao:
2011: Race 1- winner, Race 2 4th
2010: Race 1 - 4th, Race 2 4th
2009: Race 1 7th, Race 2 DNF
2008: Race 1 2nd, Race 2 7th

Davide Giugliano
"Last year was great at Portimao because it was my first SBK experience. It all went well in the practice sessions and in the races I definitely learned a lot in a very short time; I immediately saw that in SBK riders are pushing a lot harder right from the start line and you can gain a good position already through the first corners. In race one I was nervous but I calmed down for the second race which went pretty well. Not bad for my first SBK weekend. This year things are not easy, we continue to have the same problem but this won't stop me from doing my best during the final races of the season."

Giugliano's Superbike form at Portimao:
2011: Race 1 - 16th, Race 2 12th


Country: Portugal Name: Autodromo Internacional Algarve Length of circuit: 4.445 km Pole Position: left Race distance: 22 laps/101.024 km

LAP RECORDS: Best lap Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'42.774 (2010). Superpole Rea (Honda) 1'41.712 (2011).

2011 RESULTS: Race 1 - 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Guintoli (Ducati); 3. Rea (Honda). Race 2 1. Melandri (Yamaha); 2. Laverty (Yamaha); 3, Rea (Honda).