Alstare Ducati duo Carlos Checa
and Ayrton Badovini come into the second round of the World Superbike Championship at Motorland Aragon hoping to get their respective seasons off to a proper start following their bruising weekends in Australia.
Save for Checa's unexpected run to pole position aboard the all-new Ducati 1199 Panigale, the team endured a dismal return to competition when Badovini was sidelined by a foot injury and Checa, already competing with an injured ankle, was knocked unconscious in a dramatic race one accident.
Despite the severity of their injuries, Checa and Badovini have taken advantage of the prolonged break between races to embark on their respective recoveries.
Ahead of the second round at Motorland Aragon, local hero Checa says he is looking forward to getting back on track, even if he admits he is still to get back to peak fitness.
“Physically speaking I'm more or less OK. I still can't really go cycling or running but I've been training at the gym and don't expect to have any real trouble riding the bike. I feel strong from a mental point of view too, I'm ready for the next races.
“Until we're there on track I can't really make predictions. We'll start with our base set-up and then, once I'm on the bike we'll see what we need to do – it always depends on the conditions, levels of grip, the tyres and their consumption... I was in Aragón last week to see the development team that was testing; they worked a lot on the electronics, that are working well, and with the anti-spin.
“We can't do those kind of tests during a race weekend as they're time-consuming and we only have one bike of course, so the work that they've done during testing should give us some useful information, useful parameters. In Aragón I hope to be able to continue to improve, both in terms of the bike and myself.”
Similarly, Badovini admits he is still working towards a full recovery but positive progress in recent days has left him feeling more optimistic.
'At the gym I've concentrated on working on my upper body and my arms because I can still do very little as far as my legs are concerned. At the start it was very risky to put weight on my foot and so I was on crutches until a few days ago.
“Now I can walk quite well, and navigate stairs etc. but I don't yet have full mobility of my foot. I've worked with the Clinica Mobile staff, we've tried putting on my boot, assuming the riding position and nothing really hurt so I don't expect to have any real problems riding – it shouldn't be too bad on the foot-peg.
“Regarding Aragón, it's a track that I enjoy. In this case it's an advantage for me that it's not a very physical track, so I have chance to rest a bit, and that it fortunately won't be very hot. We still have the issue of the two straights of course so we'll be working to compensate for that, but I'm feeling positive.”