Crash.Net WSBK News
Two titles for Althea, 17 for Ducati
3 October 2011
Ducati is celebrating its 17th World Superbike Championship manufacturers' title less than a year after the Italian marque withdrew from the series in a factory-backed capacity.
As the most successful manufacturer in WSBK history, Ducati stunned the paddock by announcing it was withdrawing from the series at the end of 2010, and though Althea Racing, which out-performed the factory Xerox Ducati team in 2010 was continuing as a 'de facto works' entity, its decision to focus on just one rider wasn't conducive to the manufacturer being able to match the larger Aprilia and Yamaha teams.
However, Checa's dominance of the series has negated the need for a second entry, the Spaniard amassing 467 of the 491 points Ducati currently has with two races remaining.
A special achievement for Checa, his title is also significant for Althea Racing, which only made its WSBK debut in 2008 as a one-man privateer Honda team. In two seasons, with Roberto Rolfo, Tommy Hill and Matthieu Lagrive on its roster, Althea managed a best finish of just eighth.
As such, the announcement that it was switching to Ducati machinery for 2009 caused barely a ripple through the WSBK paddock, though the signing of Checa suggested they were serious about achieving greater things at this level.
Indeed, a race win at the Phillip Island season opener announced Checa and Althea as a formidable combination, one that has carried through to 2011 and its momentous title victory.
Even better, Althea Racing is also celebrating winning the FIM Superstock 1000 series, won by Davide Giugliano just hours before Checa sealed the WSBK crown.
“An unforgettable day for the Althea team and for Ducati too,” said team manager Genesio Bevilacqua. “We've fulfilled two of our objectives but it wasn't at all easy – it was a difficult year and we had to fight hard for this. Now we are more relaxed of course! I must thank Carlos Checa who has gone beyond all of my expectations. I also thank the entire team, the engineers, the mechanics.
“As far as our sponsors are concerned, a particular thanks goes to Antonio and Alessandro Annoscia, the owners of Unibat. They have supported us all season, and I hope we can renew this faith that we have in each other for 2012. Thanks also to Maurizio Perlini, our trusted engine builder, and finally I want to thank Ducati for having provided us with such a fantastic bike – I hope they too are happy with our results.”
With Ducati hinting at a possible full return in 2013 with the recently-announced 1199 Panigale, SBK project director Ernesto Marinelli paid tribute to Althea for making Ducati title-winners once again without the need for full-scale factory support.
“It has been an incredible,” he said. “As far as I recall, I don‟t think Ducati has ever won four titles in one day so that alone is a record.
“In Genesio and in Althea we have found a very important partner that, with Carlos' impeccable work and talent and Davide's impressive work throughout the year, has given us the possibility to obtain today's result. I thank Genesio, Carlos, Davide and the entire Althea Racing squad for this incredible performance.”