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Checa looking for consistency at 'home' race

Checa looking for consistency at 'home' race

Checa looking for consistency at 'home' race

Carlos Checa says he is looking for a consistent second half of the season after finding a good base set-up for his YZR-M1 in the last round before the summer break at Donington Park.

The Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider, who jokes that Brno is like a home race for him because the name for the Czech Republic is 'Republica Checa' in his native Spanish, admits his first half of the season has not been as positive as he would have liked but insists he is confident of improvements over the final seven races.

"After Donington I asked my mechanics not to change too much on the bike for Brno," explained Checa, who finished sixth at the British Grand Prix three weeks ago. "I was really happy with the package we had in Donington and the bike was working well. The set-up and tyres felt good and I was able to ride the bike on the limit; hopefully this will continue in Brno.

"For the second half of the season I want to be consistently in the top five; this is my target and the target of the whole team, and we believe we can do it. I would like us to start like this in Brno.

"Brno is a fantastic track, definitely one of the best we race at. It's safe, fast, wide and long with a good racing line, plus the facilities in the paddock are excellent. Although we may need a little bit more power there I think that it could be one of the best tracks for Yamaha this season. It's always a pleasure to race in Brno and I am looking forward to getting back into the action after the summer break.

"This year has been quite positive for me so far, but I have still not been as competitive as I was hoping. In some ways there has been a bit more pressure for me to achieve more, with Valentino coming to my team.

"There have been no negative aspects at all to his arrival, it's all been just positive. My crew is exactly the same as last year, and I trust them. The bike has improved a lot since last year. I'm still not 100% comfortable with it but definitely we're on the way up.

"It was clear during winter testing how much the bike had improved, not just in terms of horsepower but also with its handling. I had a difficult time at the first race in South Africa, the bike did not seem to have enough grip when I was at an angle, so my corner exiting was too slow and I didn't have enough confidence to pass when braking.

"The next race in Jerez was much better for me, we made some good changes to the set-up from Welkom, and I got my first front row start of the season. Unfortunately I couldn't stay in the top group in the terrible wet weather and finished sixth, but things were already feeling better than South Africa.

"Next came my best race so far this season, Le Mans. I finished in second place there, after a hard race with Max Biaggi chasing me. I really felt on the pace at that race. The next race in Mugello was a disaster, I fell off after only four laps because I lost the rear. There was nothing I could do about that, it was just very disappointing because I lost a points opportunity.

"The following race at my home Grand Prix in Barcelona was a good points scorer however, I finished fourth even though my qualifying had been really bad and I only started from 12th place on the grid. That race proved to me, after Mugello, that I could be consistent during the race, and also aggressive as I made so many passes. Those points pushed me up to fourth in the championship standings, so was a high point in the first half of my season.

"Assen was a bad race for me, I had no rear traction or stability, and it got worse and worse during the race. I managed to keep my fourth place in the championship standings but it was clear that something was wrong there. The last few races have also been really difficult, and I have not been performing as I should be.

"I had a really tough weekend in Rio, we tried so many things with the bike but I never felt comfortable and the other Yamaha riders seemed to struggle just as much. My bad luck continued to Germany, where I fell again on just the fifth lap of the race. I made a mistake and lost the front. This was so frustrating because I was losing points, and had been pushed back into seventh in the standings after there and Rio.

"At least I went into the summer break on a slightly more positive note after the Donington race in England. I didn't have a great start, which gave me a disadvantage for the rest of the race, but as it was I managed to make several passes and finished sixth.

"If I had had a better start I think I could have finished fourth and got more championship points. Anyway, I am now still seventh overall in the championship, and I have every confidence that in the second half of the season I can move higher.

"Generally this is a much better season for me than last year, and it's great to see what Rossi can do with the same bike, I think we probably need to listen more to what he and his crew are doing in the second half of the season, and then let's see."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, GAULOISES GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY, Carlos Checa

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