Good news for Carlos Checa, as the Althea Ducati race team has finally extended the reigning-World Superbike Champion a contract for the 2012 season. Recently, Checa was in the precarious position of having clinched the 2011 World Superbike Championship, and yet had no contract for the 2012 season. Stuck in the tug-of-war between Althea Racing and Ducati Corse, as well as the scandal currently gripping Althea Ceramics, Checa’s future with the Ducati squad was in question to such an extent that the BMW Italia team offered the Spaniard €800,000 to ride one of its BMW S1000RRs in 2012.
Checa had to respond to the offer by the end of Saturday, and come Sunday no announcement was made. Now we know the reason why, as the Althea Ducati has announced signing Carlos Checa again for the 2012 season. Presumably getting a swift kick to the ass, Ducati Corse is reported to have stepped in to ensure the retainment of the veteran motorcycle racer, though details of the deal and the company’s involvement in the process have not been made clear.
Althea Racing had been negotiating with Ducati Corse for support in the 2012 season, saying the team would be unable to compete in World Superbike unless the factory helped them. Planning instead to race in the World Superstock series, Althea was able to bend the Italian company’s will enough to ensure another season in World Superbike; and more importantly, another season with Carlos Checa at the helm of the Ducati Superbike 1198R.
“This weekend has been very special,” said a delighted Checa at Portimão. “Before Race 1 it looked like there was no way that I could stay with Althea Racing in 2012 and I was very upset about this but now it seems that Althea Racing and Ducati have come to an agreement and I am over the moon to hear that I can stay with my team and with my bike again next year. We have built something very special here and to leave would have been heartbreaking. More than a win, today has been a moral victory – in the space of two days I have lost, and thankfully regained my team.”
Source: Althea Ducati; Photo: WorldSBK