WSBK Rider of the Year vote: 8th

You voted in your thousands, but there can only be one winner... This is's top ten countdown to the 2012 World Superbike Rider of the Year as voted for by you!
8. Carlos Checa

Nationality: Spanish
Team: Althea Racing
Bike: Ducati 1098R
Wins: 4
Podiums: 10
Championship points: 287.5
Championship position: 4th

As one of the happier, more positive members of the World Superbike paddock, the fact Carlos Checa had much to grumble about in 2012 was representative of his frustrating season as reigning champion.

The dominant winner of the 2011 title with an immense 15 race wins to his name, it was difficult to imagine anyone other than Checa securing the 2012 title, not least when the Spaniard swept the board during pre-season testing.

Furthermore, a big crash in the opening race at Phillip Island aside, Checa's subsequent three straight wins – including a double at Imola – seemingly sounded the death knell for the title battle before it had barely started. Of course, such worries would prove very premature, Checa ascending to the top of the podium just one more time before reluctantly handing over his crown and No.1 status.

So what went wrong? Well, the recurring theme of Checa and team manager Genesio Bevilacqua's comments over the year was the 6kg weight increase incurred by the twin-cylinder machine over the winter period. Intended to appease rivals crying foul over Checa's dominant 2011 season, the revised regulations drew derision from the Althea camp all season long.

In a way, they had reason to be frustrated. It was clear that the weight increase didn't prevent Checa from setting fast lap times – as represented by his continued strong qualifying efforts -, but in a race environment it was telling. Indeed, it was clear, particularly at a tight venue like the Moscow Raceway, that Checa had the edge through the bends, but unless he was able to pass, he was otherwise defenceless on the lengthy straight.

Then again, Checa didn't help his cause at times in 2012. A bizarre tyre error at Assen left him out of the points, while he had no-one else to blame but himself for his falls at Donington Park, Misano and Nurburgring. Additionally, the margin to new team-mate Davide Giugliano didn't always reflect the gulf in their experience at this level.

Still, Checa plugged away and at least did enough to secure fourth in the standings. Though not a patch on his 2011 efforts, he still out-scored the likes of Jonathan Rea, Eugene Laverty and Leon Haslam.

It remains to be seen how he fares on the much vaunted Ducati 1199 Panigale, now under the stewardship of Alstare, but Checa may well appreciate coming into 2013 as more of an underdog this time.

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011: 1st
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2010: 3rd
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009: 11th
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2008: 7th

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2012:

9. Loris Baz
10. Leon Camier

Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...

Tagged as: Ducati , Althea , Carlos Checa

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Guareschi and Checa, Jerez tests November 2012
Checa, Jerez tests November 2012
Checa, Jerez tests November 2012
Checa, French WSBK 2012
Checa, French WSBK 2012
Checa, French WSBK 2012
Checa, Portuguese WSBK 2012
Ducati pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale engine, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale bikes, Misano WSBK 2017
Xavi Fores, Barni Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Marco Melandri, Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Marco Melandri, Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Chaz Davies, Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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Rca - Unregistered

December 23, 2012 3:21 PM

Fourth on the bike the other riders nicknamed the snail.sure he crashed but mainly due to having to push too hard in the corners. The bike was so slow he hardly ever passed down the straight. I think it was testament to his ability he finished above the likes of laverty rea and haslam.

Terminator - Unregistered

December 23, 2012 3:27 PM

The bunch of idiotic WSBK organizers who gave the ridiculous extra weight on the Ducati and made it like a scooter on the straight was the problem. That was totally unfair on Checa and Ducati.

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