Carlos Checa has sung the praises of his mechanics, physiotherapists and the Clinica Mobile staff for putting him in a position to claim a 'surprise' pole position for the new Alstare Ducati 1199 R at Phillip Island.

The Spaniard has endured a troubled build up to the first races of 2013, including intestinal problems that ruled him out of two days worth of vital testing and a huge accident in FP1 that he labelled as one of the largest of his career.

Despite this, Checa has still been fast on the new twin-cylinder Superbike, pace he was able to demonstrate when it mattered as he regained his lap record with an impressive 1min 30.234secs effort.

Admitting his surprise to be on pole position for the season opener, particularly after his accident in first practice, Checa was delighted to be immediately on the pace on the much anticipated new bike.

"Winning Superpole was a great surprise for me and is down to all the hard work put in by my mechanics, the physiotherapists and the rest of the Clinica Mobile medical staff. This morning, I felt pain in both my shoulder and foot and I really didn't think I'd be competitive in qualifying and Superpole.

"The mechanics did a great job and made the bike easier for me to ride and by the time Superpole started this afternoon, I felt pretty good really - better than I thought I would!

Despite the result, Checa says he remains uncertain as to how the Panigale-based machine will fare in race conditions.

"Today was good, but we'll have to see how the bike is in race conditions and also how the tyres perform after a lot of laps. Hopefully we'll be competitive tomorrow and can be in the mix at the end of the race."

If Checa, a winner of four of the last five WSBK races to be held at Phillip Island, triumphs in the first race of the season, he will replicate the feat achieved by Troy Bayliss in 2008 when he gave the 1098 victory on its competitive debut in Qatar.



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