World Superbike Championship leader Carlos Checa says it is unrealistic to expect a podium finish from 11th on the grid at Monza, though he optimistic he can make up ground in the races.
Having professed pre-event that he expects the twin-cylinder Althea Ducati to struggle around the high-speed Italian circuit, Checa's worst fears were realised as he was dumped out of SP2, leaving him outside the top ten and ending his run of three straight pole positions.
Nonetheless, Checa insists he should fare better in the races provided he gets away with the lead group, even if he admits a podium may be asking too much.
"It's not easy here for us,” the Spaniard said. “We know that we are lacking some speed but tomorrow I think that if I can improve through the first sector we can defend ourselves well. Of course it wouldn't be very realistic to think we can reach the podium but I am confident that we can stay with the front group and we'll try to take the best possible results. It's hard to say how we'll finish but I'll do my best as always and we'll see.”
Checa has managed four wins and two third place finishes during the opening six races of the season to establish a 43 point lead in the standings.