Carlos Checa claims he is happier now than he has been in several years after bringing a satisfying debut World Superbike season to a close as best placed 'rookie'.
Although Checa was considered one of the most experienced racers on WSBK grid in 2008, his switch from MotoGP to Ten Kate Honda meant he still had a new bike, team and circuits to learn throughout the year.
Nonetheless, Checa's transition was relatively seamless, with his two wins at Miller Motorsports Park – his first for ten years – helping him to an eventual fourth position in the final standings.
Speaking to Crash.net
about his maiden season in the championship, Checa admits he didn't enjoy his final years in MotoGP, but the switch to World Superbikes has revived his motivation for bike racing.
“I've enjoyed this championship a lot,” he said. “My last two years in MotoGP were not so exciting but here everything's been new and we've been racing at the front and taking victories again.
“I enjoyed winning also at the Suzuka 8-hour race with Ryuichi Kiyonari so it would seem that riding the CBR1000RR at the moment is suiting me very nicely. I have enjoyed this season more than any of the previous four or five, so I'm happy here and enjoying the championship very much.”
Indeed, despite the spectre of 'demotion' from MotoGP to Superbikes, Checa claims it was an easy decision at the time to pursue a new direction in his career. A year on, it is still a move he doesn't regret.
“After I rode the bike at Suzuka and after the 2007 season I had in MotoGP, it wasn't a difficult decision at all. The fact that I was being asked to ride for the Ten Kate team by Honda made it a very easy decision.
“I really felt I'd come to the end of the MotoGP stage of my career and that I was ready for a new challenge in a new environment with a really strong possibility to win. It's been a great move for me.”