A Repsol generated interview with former 500cc/MotoGP rider and 2011 World Superbike champion Carlos Checa, who was back in the paddock at Catalunya…

Q: What is the first memory that comes to mind when you think of the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit?

Carlos Checa: “I have many memories of the track, but without a doubt one memory would be of my first race in the World Championship in 1993, when I rode in 125cc and placed seventh. Of course, it’s impossible to forget the 1996 Grand Prix. It was very special, because it was the first victory I achieved in 500cc. Even today people remind me of that day when I see them in the paddock. I have ridden at Montmeló many times and for me it has always been my home circuit.”

Q: You were active in the time of the 500cc bikes and the switch to MotoGP. how was that change and what do you think of the current MotoGP bikes?

Carlos Checa: “The 500cc machines were bikes that did not have as much technology. You had to be careful with the throttle, although it did not have as much power. Something that people do not usually think about is the tyres, but that difference was really felt when MotoGP arrived. 

"Without a doubt, the biggest change was the arrival of electronics, and since then that has evolved a lot. The MotoGP bike has more power, so it was important to implement good electronics management. In addition, new manufacturers came in, and that made the World Championship grow.”

Q: What rating would you give the start of the current season?

Carlos Checa: “The series is very interesting. Obviously, there’s a great difference between Márquez and the rest. Despite his crash at Mugello, Marc is looking very solid and consistent, able to save everything. Right now, I think rivals have been more inconsistent. 

"Now Lorenzo has emerged. His change in the last few races has been amazing. I think Valentino [Rossi] continues to hold on, while Viñales hasn’t quite found his way yet, just like Pedrosa. 

"The Suzuki and the KTM seem to be somewhat far off the pace. The last few years have been interesting and now there are different circuits, so it looks like it will be a nice season.”

Q: You have been a Honda, Yamaha and Ducati rider. how do you see the three manufacturers today?

Carlos Checa: “I see the three being more evenly matched than ever. I would dare say that maybe the Ducati is the one that is working the best. The Yamaha seems to have some difficulties, especially at some circuits. 

"The Honda, ridden by Marc Márquez, is making a difference, but in general, the three bikes are quite evenly matched. The Suzuki doesn’t look bad either, although it still lacks some engine power. The KTM is still a very young project and the Aprilia is perhaps the bike that is furthest behind now. 

"I think the new regulations and the change in tyres have helped to even things up, and all the factories are up there. In the end, the difference is a matter of the rider feeling good, and that depends on the circuit and the conditions.”

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