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Checa rides fast on Bridgestone tyres

Checa rides fast on Bridgestone tyres

Checa rides fast on Bridgestone tyres

Ducati star Carlos Checa was Bridgestone's man for all weather conditions in this weekend's Grande Premio de Portugal. With an excellent practice performance in sunny, windy conditions on Saturday, the Spaniard conquered his first front row start of the season, finally overcoming the shoulder injury that had slowed him in the season-opening race in Jerez.

In cool and drizzly weather conditions on race day, Checa bounced back from initial engine problems and an initial lack of feel for the rear tyre, to take an eventual fifth place with a steady and calculated ride.

"I am happy with our achievements this weekend," said the Spaniard. We've been able to improve the bike and, with the help of Bridgestone, we've made good progress in terms of tyre performance. Of course we were aiming a little higher after our third place in practice, especially since my practice runs on race tyres were also fast and consistent. But considering the circumstances, fifth place in the race is a positive result.

"I had a good start, but then my engine didn't respond very well, it was as if I had clicked into a high gear. In the cool conditions, the tyres also needed some time to build up their full performance. With more side grip in the later laps my suspension started working better and I regained confidence. The rain drizzle affected all of us and went on for the whole race. I saw Sete crash, and this reminded me to stay calm and to remain careful."

Checa's team-mate Loris Capirossi, still handicapped by an ankle injury, cautiously rode the second Marlboro Ducati home to ninth, one place behind Kawasaki star Shinya Nakano, who had opted for a softer tyre compound than the two Ducati riders and eventually took eighth place.

Hiroshi Yamada, motorcycle racing manager of Bridgestone Motorsport, was upbeat about the result obtained by Checa and others with the Bridgestone tyres but admitted that progress still has to be made. "The drizzle made the race very difficult for all of the MotoGP riders today. Checa's fifth place is a good result considering the conditions, and we are very happy that four of our riders took points, with Nakano in eighth, Capirossi in ninth and Roberts in12th position.

"Obviously the result is still not as good as expected; we all were very confident after the qualifying practice, as Checa had done very consistent fast laps on race tyres. But the main thing is that Ducati made a big step forward with the set-up and overall balance of the bike. This improvement boosts our confidence and we are looking forward to the next race in China."


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