Carlos Checa says he is somewhat perplexed as to why he and his Ducati counterparts are struggling for pace at Motorland Aragon, even beyond the top speed disparity compared to his main rivals.
The Althea Ducati rider has always identified the Spanish circuit as one of the toughest for the twin-cylinder 1098R courtesy of its long back straight in the final sector, but Checa was a podium winner in 2011 and currently holds the race lap record.
Carrying an extra 6kg this year, though Checa once again identified the weight gain as being a contributor to his disappointing tenth place after Q1, he was concerned to be almost two seconds off Marco Melandri pace up front.
“Today we had some difficulty and the times didn't come,” said Checa, who was honoured with having a corner named after him this week. “Losing so much on the straightway means that we need to make up as much as possible in the corners but this is difficult in these conditions where I didn't have the necessary rear grip. It seems strange that we are losing so much to the others.
“I know we didn't test here as many others have done but we have the same bike as last year and those references. Maybe today it's hotter than last year or maybe the track has changed, I don't know but I hope we can find something tomorrow.”
Checa's Ducati counterparts fared little better, with team-mate Davide Giugliano in 11th, while Niccolo Canepa and Sylvain Guintoli are the only other 1098R riders currently in Superpole position in 13th and 15th. Maxime Berger, Lorenzo Zanetti and Jakub Smrz are 16th, 18th and 19th respectively.
Checa was nearly 20kph down on the straights compared to Melandri's BMW.