The new 2010 Althea Racing Team was officially presented on January 16th at Timo's Club in Fasano, Italy.
Both of the team's new signings, WSBK race-winners Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne, were present at the launch, together with general manager Genesio Bevilacqua and Althea's Italian Superbike championship rider Flavio Gentile.
As well as two new riders, Althea has switched from Honda to Ducati 1198 machinery for the 2010 season. The team's new racing colours, designed by Maya Cohen, were unveiled at the launch.
“We have worked very hard to prepare our team for the next racing season and now I can say that we are ready for the 2010 Superbike world championship,” said Bevilacqua. “Everything is set to compete in world and Italian Superbike championships. Once again we must thank Althea and all our sponsors who allowed our team to be so competitive. Now we are prepared to go to Portimao for the first test of the year, where we'll be able to compare our team with all our competitors.”
Checa joins Althea having spent his first two WSBK seasons with Ten Kate Honda. The Spanish veteran last raced a Ducati in MotoGP during 2005.
“In few days we'll leave for Portimao and I will be able to start to work with my new technicians in order to start the Superbike world championship in the best possible way,” said Checa, seventh in the 2009 standings with four podiums. “My team worked very hard to prepare the bikes and I'll do my best starting from the first test session in Portimao because I want to start this 2010 season in the right way.”
Byrne also rode a satellite Ducati last season, for the Sterilgarda Ducati outfit. The Englishman finished eighth in the championship with one podium, and is confident his 2010 machinery will allow him to run consistently at the front.
“I'm really very happy to be part of this team,” said the former BSB champion. “Today I saw my new Ducati for the first time and I can't wait to ride it in Portimao. Now I know all the members of the team and I'm sure it will be exciting work in such a professional squad, especially alongside Carlos Checa alongside. He's got a lot of experience and I'm sure he'll be a great team-mate. This year I want to fighting at the front in every race.”
After the Portimao test, from January 22-24, Althea will travel to Valencia for further testing on the 27th and 28th. The first round of the 2010 WSBK season takes place at Phillip Island, Australia, on February 26-28.