Althea Ducati has confirmed it has re-signed Carlos Checa for the next two World Superbike Championship seasons following an outstanding year together in 2010.
The experienced Spaniard was picked up by the privateer Italian outfit at the end of the 2009 when he was dropped by Ten Kate Honda, the team's switch to Ducati elevating them to front-running status from the opening race.
Indeed, Checa has been a revelation in 2010, his victory at the Phillip Island opener and subsequent consistency seeing him emerge as Ducati's top challenger, ahead of the factory Xerox riders.
While Checa – who celebrated his new contract with a win at Imola - was briefly linked to joining the manufacturer team, Ducati's factory withdrawal means he will stay where he is for the next two seasons, much to Althea manager Genesio Bevilacqua's delight.
“Thanks to the two year agreement signed with Checa and to Ducati for the precious support, we will strive to achieve great things”, said Bevilacqua. “Carlos will help to develop the Italian manufacturer's racing activity and I am sure that we will make a good job of it.
“Carlos has already found the perfect mental balance so as to be able to get the best out of this bike and the team and therefore I have every confidence with regard to the future.”
While Checa will continue with Althea into next season, Bevilacqua also confirmed that it would not be retaining Shane Byrne for 2011. Indeed, despite expanding into the Superstock class with Lorenzo Baroni next year, it isn't certain whether it will continue with a two-rider Superbike team.
“We have had a great relationship with Shane but unfortunately the economics of the situation will not allow us to continue to work with him. We do not however exclude the possibility of running a second bike.”
While Ducati is pulling its factory support, it is anticipated that it will up its backing to the Althea team in 2011.