Carlos Checa says his third World Superbike victory of the season at Donington Park means more to him than those he achieved at Phillip Island, 13 years after the accident at the circuit that almost cost him his life.
Checa suffered serious internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen that left him temporarily blind, after an accident at the Craner Curves during the 1998 500cc British Grand Prix.
Though he has returned to the circuit on numerous occasions since then, this is the first time he has stood on top of the podium, the Spaniard triumphing in the second race after a commanding performance.
“It was great to win at Phillip Island but this means even more to me,” he said. “A lot of people may remember what happened to me here many years ago; that day I lost something here but I can say that I found it again.”
“We opted for the softer tyre in race two; we knew it would be very high performing although a bit less so towards the end of the race. It remained pretty consistent but towards the end I had to change my riding a little to manage the situation. My strategy was to get to the front, built up a bit of a lead and then manage that lead and today everything worked perfectly.
Earlier on, he finished third in race one after getting bumped down as low as 11th from pole position. Despite this, Althea Ducati rider said his fight back to the podium was one of his most enjoyable rides in World Superbikes yet.
“In race one I was struggling at the start,” he added. “I didn't have feeling with the rear tyre and as a result I lost a lot of positions. But I have to say it was one of the most exciting races of my career, so many riders touching, crashing, everything!
“After the first laps I was able to build up a good rhythm and start moving up through the pack one rider at a time. It wasn't easy but I pushed hard and then two laps from the end I realised that I could maybe get past Haslam too for third. I'm really happy because I didn't think I'd get from 11th on lap one to the podium.”
Checa's win sees him extend his advantage in the overall standings to 19 points over Marco Melandri.