23 April 2012
Checa accepts blame for tyre mistake
Carlos Checa says it is his fault he started the second race at Assen on full wet tyres despite the drying conditions.
Carlos Checa says he is to blame for the decision to start the second World Superbike race of the day of full wet tyres, an error that left him outside the points and places him behind Max Biaggi in the overall standings.
An eventful day for the reigning champion, Checa went into the opening race looking to extend his advantage in the overall standings and duly found himself embroiled in an intense battle for the lead of the race with several other riders.
By the time rain started falling and the race was halted, Checa had advanced no higher than his fifth place starting position, but the experienced racer would emerge a bigger threat when it was restarted in wet conditions.
With Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea both crashing out ahead of him, Checa was now leading with three laps remaining and managing the pace on the tricky surface, but a minor error into the slow speed Strebben hairpin allowed both Ayrton Badovini and Sylvain Guintoli through.
From here, Checa was content to merely keeping the Althea Ducati standing and didn't attempt to fight back, even if he would have an alarming altercation with his team-mate Davide Giugliano, who managed to squeeze past him around the final bend to snatch a last gasp second position from him.
“I'm more than satisfied with the result in race one, because conditions were already tricky in the first phase, let alone in the second! After the restart, there was little traction, little grip, and when I saw some of the others go down, I decided it was better to finish the race than risk a fall.
“Considering the conditions, probably one of the worst SBK races I've ever ridden, we're happy with third place. Congratulations to Davide too who made a great race – he deserved the result. “
Following the positive result in race one, Checa was looking for something similar in race two, but a risky decision to opt for wet tyres on a drying surface would prove ill-judged. Indeed, Checa had been gambling on the return of rain, but he was alone in his choice of tyre, prompting him to return to the pit lane after just two laps.
Eventually finishing outside the points in 17th, Checa says he takes the blame for a choice that has seen him slip a point in arrears of arch rival Biaggi overall ahead of the high-speed Monza circuit.
“In race two I made a mistake and take full responsibility for it. I chose to go out on a rain tyre as I thought rain would come but I was wrong.
"I'm sorry I didn't come straight back in to change it during the warm-up lap as, that way, I would have probably been able to close in the top ten but instead I waited and by then it was too late to be able to catch up. We turn the page and look ahead.”
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