By Christian Tiburtius
An exclusive interview with former MotoGP star and 2011 World Superbike champion Carlos Checa.
Checa is currently 14th in this year's WSBK standings for the Ducati Alstare team, after an injury interrupted season on the new Panigale...
Where are you from is Spain?
Close to Barcelona so I'm a Catalan.
And is that where you live?
My parents live there, but my home base since '99 is England. Initially I was in London, I didn't like it so much though so I moved to Great Ayton near Middlesborough. I moved there because when I signed for Yamaha, the manager lived there and my girlfriend liked it. It was very good there for cycling and sport and quite beautiful.
Five years ago I moved back to London because of the ease of travel.
Are you recognised in the street a lot?
In Spain and Italy, yes. I'm not recognised that much though, I'm not a football player. You can survive very well, it's not too bad.
So after all these years, why do you still race?
That's a question I've been asking myself in the last few weeks!
I'm 40 years old, I started in world championships in '93, so this will be my 20th year in world championships but I still like the competition, I like to compete.
This year though is probably my hardest because technically we're very far from the top riders and once you've been there fighting with the top guys, it's very hard to be riding mid-pack, you feel very limited.
My recent years have actually been very successful in that I was able to win more races in the last three years than in the rest of my career, so in general I've really enjoyed these times.
For me I don't feel different sitting on the grid now to what I did when I started my career. It's not your age or how many years you've been racing, it's your approach to what you do. Confidence doesn't change over the years, it comes more with what you do and achieve and how you do it.
Maybe the years give you more serenity and allow you to judge and have a vision. Perhaps more maturity, when you're in action the nervous system reacts the same.
Motorbikes for me are my passion, they're my life. Maybe one day I'll stop, but I still enjoy it and while I still enjoy it I'll be there. I've liked motorbikes since I was very young and my passion for bikes is more than for competition. Sometimes when I have an opportunity to try other motorbike styles, like enduro or motocross, I always take part.
When you have the speed, the ability and the risk and you put those all into a competition it's fantastic.
You enjoy the risk?