Reigning World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa has made his long awaited first appearance aboard Ducati's new 1199 Panigale Superbike in a surprise outing ahead of World Ducati Week at Misano.
The first time the Spaniard had jumped aboard the machine in full Superbike trim, Checa was given the chance to try the twin-cylinder bike in front of fans who had arrived early for Ducati's annual WDW festival, which takes place this weekend.
Though no official comments were released after the test, nor lap times taken, Checa did take to his Twitter
account to state:
“Good feelings on the bike, hot Misano today.”
As well as Checa, Ducati's customer riders – Davide Giugliano, Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz, Maxime Berger, Niccolo Canepa and Lorenzo Zanetti – are also expected to be getting a short stint on the bike over the course of the weekend.
Having been unveiled in road trim last year, Ducati has initiated a phased racing introduction for the 1199 Panigale, opting to debut it in the FIM Superstcok 1000 Championship, while its former champion Troy Bayliss has led a lengthy development period.
The full Superbike is expected to compete in World Superbikes next season, though it isn't known whether Ducati will return in a full manufacturer capacity – having withdrawn at the end of 2010 - or continue to allow customer teams to spearhead its efforts.