WSBK Donington: Canepa shows form on Panigale debut

Niccolo Canepa takes the Alstare Ducati 1199 Panigale into the top eight on his World Superbike return; Carlos Checa forced to withdraw.
Wild-card entrant Niccolo Canepa gave Alstare Ducati reason to be satisfied with the fifth round of the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park after a solid run to eighth place.

The Italian, making a one-off appearance aboard a third Alstare Ducati 1199 Panigale at Donington Park in between Superstock 1000 Cup duties, has been impressive throughout the weekend, reaching SP3 in Superpole and qualifying in ninth position.

Though a mistake in race one would consign him to 13th in race one, a competitive performance in race two would see him cross the line in eighth place – a better result than regular rider Ayrton Badovini has managed so far this year. Claiming the new bike is 'not far off', Canepa was pleased with his weekend's work.

“Considering that these were my first races I'd say that we are coming out of this weekend with a fairly positive outlook. We've worked well and if we'd had more time on track on Friday then I think we could have done better.

“We're not far off I don't think, with a bit more time to set the bike up for me and my riding style we could probably have done more. I'm just sorry for the mistake in race one but these things can happen in racing.

“I'd like to thank Francis Batta, Ernesto Marinelli and the team for giving me this opportunity and thanks also to Ducati's development team who've worked so hard for me this weekend.”

Lead rider Carlos Checa, meanwhile, was forced to withdraw from the second race at Donington Park after struggling to 12th place in race one, the Spaniard still suffering with his shoulder injury.

“Seeing how the first race went, and the pain that I had in my shoulder both during and after the race, we decided that it was best not to force things by participating in the second.

“To tell the truth I thought things might be worse today, at what is one of the most physical tracks but, having said that, I need more time to recuperate and get my strength back as I'm suffering particularly in the changes of direction and when entering left-hand turns, where it's important to have both arms at 100 per cent.

“Of course it's not an injury that affects me in my day to day life but at 300km/h it really hurts. Now we have two weeks, in which I'll continue with the various treatments in preparation for Portimao where I hope to be stronger. From the next round I'd like to be able to focus more on the sporting side of things and less on health issues.”

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May 27, 2013 10:04 AM

I am impressed by Canepa. Maybe more wild-cards in the races that not clash with the Stock 1000 program? It seems like he feels the Panigale well. And his Stock team-mate, Eddi La Marra also rides the bike fast, it could be interesting to see what he could do in the big category, too.

Otto - Unregistered

May 27, 2013 11:02 AM

Afraid not Jambop. Ducati has a history of winning with new bikes straight from the crate. They did this with the 916, 999 & 1098. The truth is that the Panigale is just not competitive. It has run at BSB & Superstock level for a good year now so the bike has had enough time to get sorted. Perhaps the time has come to accept that twins simply cannot be competitive with fours anymore (& I say that as a fan of twins and a long-term Ducati owner).

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