Former World Superbike Champion and MotoGP race winner Carlos Checa
has confirmed he is retiring from motorcycle racing after 20 successful years at the highest level of competition.
The Spaniard made the announcement at his home circuit of Jerez, where the final round of the 2013 WSBK season is being held, confirming rumours of retirement just three days after turning 41-years-old.
The runaway World Superbike Champion on the Althea Ducati just two years ago with an incredible 15 wins in 26 races, Checa has struggled to match that form since, suffering with an ageing Ducati 1098R in 2012 and unable to make the new 1199 Panigale competitive in 2013.
More decisively, Checa's season has been blighted by a series of crashes and injuries, notably a spectacular accident at the Phillip Island opener that left him briefly unconscious, while an ongoing shoulder problem would hamper him for several events too.
With a crash at Istanbul Park leaving him with a hip fracture that would end his 2013 campaign four rounds early, speculation swiftly arose that Checa may have already competed in his final race. Indeed, though Althea Racing was keen to lure Checa back into its fold for 2014 and Kawasaki had signalled their interest too, Checa has instead opted to hang up his leathers for good. It is a decision he hasn't taken lightly.
“This year I am celebrating twenty years of racing at world championship level,” he said. “I am extremely proud of this long sporting career, which has given me many special memories of all the teams I have worked with. I have had the opportunity to compete at the highest level, riding the best bikes and winning against the best rivals.
“My aim has always been to discover my limits and to be able to take a close look at myself in order to continue to learn, grow and become a better rider and a better person. This is something that would not have possible without taking this path, full of risk, but which has also provided me with great challenges, adversaries and emotions; a long climb which culminated with my best season in 2011.
“There is a moment that will always arrive in the life of a sportsman, the day on which you say enough is enough. This day has arrived for me today. It was not an easy decision, but one that I've thought long and hard about. I am grateful to the entire motorcycle family, to those who make it possible for this world to exist and especially to those who have supported me and followed me from the start, for having given me the opportunity to pursue my dream and live a life that I wouldn't have changed for any other.
“I will now move on to discover new things about myself, a new and stimulating phase now begins for me in Ducati. It will take time to adapt but I am confident about my future and the satisfactions that it will surely continue to give me. Thanks again to everyone for being here to support me on what is a very special day for me, definitely emotional but also unforgettable.”