More than a decade after Ducati’s last title was clinched by Carlos Checa, the Spaniard still has fond memories with the Italian manufacturer
With Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) victory in Race 1 of the Prosecco DOC Czech Round at the Autodrom Most, Ducati clinched their 1000th MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship podium. A landmark achievement sees them the first to do it in any FIM Solo Road Racing World Championship, and they instantly started the journey to the next milestone with a double podium on Sunday. However, they’re without a title since 2011 and the rider who took it then, Carlos Checa, talks about his past success with the manufacturer.
Names from far and wide reacted to Ducati’s 1000 podium success but Checa stands out as the last rider to have achieved a WorldSBK title with Ducati, doing it on the Independent Althea Racing machine too. With 38 podiums for the Bologna manufacturer, of which 22 came as victories, Checa’s hit-rate for the podium is one of the best and with the title in 2011, has fond memories of the moment he was crowned.
“My most special moment with Ducati was the 2011 French Round, at Magny-Cours, when I won the World Championship. That year I had also had a key Round, at Silverstone, since there I got Ducati’s 300th victory and achieved a crucial double, because it emphasised my lead in the Championship. Biaggi did not do well there, although at first, he was more of a favourite than me! For us, it was a race in which we were going to suffer, but in the end everything worked out for us”.
The 2011 season started with reigning World Champion Max Biaggi as favourite for the title on his factory Aprilia, whilst Ducati had withdrawn its factory team at the end of 2010. This left Checa, already with the Althea Racing Ducati squad from 2010, as the manufacturer’s hope. The season started strongly with a double at Phillip Island and four wins from the first six races, before struggling at Monza. A double in Salt Lake City and at Misano would really change the pattern of the season, with Checa, aged 39, finishing o the podium in all but three remaining races and racking up seven wins, fending off ex-MotoGP™ teammate Marco Melandri, who was in his rookie year with Yamaha, and another ex-MotoGP™ teammate in Max Biaggi.
Taking the title in France, Checa’s hard work paid off: “Where we finished off all the work was at Magny-Cours, which is where I won the World Championship, winning both races over the weekend. I could tell you all the moments that were important that season to get to that day! For me, it is an unforgettable place and weekend, because it was the final moment and for what it means to have won the title there. It was a very good weekend, with the circuit full of fans, with friends, with family, that day represents a lot for me. And yes, it was with Ducati. Destiny wanted it this way”.
Celebrate with Ducati on social media using the #1000DucatiPodiums hashtag and enjoy the action in 2022 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!