Carlos Checa is now Ducati's leading representative in the World Superbike Championship standings after posting two strong fourth place finishes in Portimao.

Qualifying third in Superpole, tardy getaways in both races saw Checa fall into the tight chasing pack initially, but he would eventually make good progress, the Spaniard finishing just one second behind Max Biaggi in race two.

Indeed, Checa, a winner last time out in Australia, was thrilled to come away with two more headlining results, not least because he felt somewhat disadvantaged down the lengthy home straight compared to his nearest rivals.

"I am happy with the great job we've done this weekend and the two fourth place finishes," he said. "Of course getting onto the podium would have been better but I don't think that we could have done better than we did today.

"In race one I didn't make a good start and I wasn't part of the leading pack. Race two went better, even though my start again was not great, but at least I was able to stay with the fastest guys."

"Unfortunately what I gained through the corners, I was then losing on the straight and so it would have been useless to take risks.

Perhaps more significantly for Checa, he has assumed third position in the standings, ahead of both Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio, as Althea Racing comfortably outpaced the factory Xerox outfit all weekend. It is form he is looking to continue next time out at Valencia, Checa's home race.

"Now we go to Valencia, a track where we tested a few months ago and where I'd like to do extremely well in front of my home crowd of course."