Carlos Checa says he is pleased to be coming away from Portimao with second and fifth place finishes after battling through tricky conditions in race one and technical gremlins in race two.
The Spaniard was looking to win his first WSBK
race since Miller Motorsports Park after qualifying second around the Portuguese circuit, but having positioned himself in a four-strong lead group at the start of race one, the ensuing red flag and restart would see him lose ground.
Indeed, with Tom Sykes sprinting into a substantial lead, Checa took time to adapt to the steadily drying conditions, though when he did eventually find his form he quickly bridged a three second gap to the Kawasaki rider with just three laps remaining.
Even so, with Checa unable to match the Kawasaki down the long home straight and Sykes keeping his lines tidy, the Althea Ducati rider would have to settle for what remains his best finish since Misano.
“Second position is very positive, considering the rain, and the fact that the race was stopped,” he said. “It was difficult because Tom defended himself well and it was very risky to overtake. I had to be careful to control tyre wear as it was drying out later in the race of course.
“At the end I tried to improve my pace, and maybe I had better pace than Tom in the final stages but I could see no clear place to overtake. Anyway we are very happy, I thank my team that has done a great job all weekend; this is a great result.”
Attempting to go one better in race two, Checa looked to be down and out early on when a technical issue developed on the bike. However, the experienced racer cured the issue with a reactivation and proceeded to claw his way back up to fifth having run as low as 14th.
With this in mind, Checa was pleased with his results, even if it officially means he cannot retain his World Superbike Championship crown now.
“In the second race I was there with the leading group but then I had a problem and I couldn't push, I didn't know what it was but I deactivated and then reactivated the traction control and this seemed to solve it. I was able to catch up a lot of positions but it wasn't easy, the bike wasn't as easy to ride as it had been in the practice sessions.
“Considering all that happened I think fifth is a good result. Now we will concentrate on finishing the season in the best possible way at Magny-Cours.”