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Checa fastest despite lost time, added weight

Illness and an extra 6kg on his Althea Ducati couldn’t stop reigning World Superbike champion Carlos Checa leading the 'private' test timesheets at Phillip Island.

Illness and an extra 6kg on his Althea Ducati couldn't stop reigning World Superbike champion Carlos Checa leading the 'private' test timesheets at Phillip Island.

The Spaniard led the unofficial timesheets at the conclusion of the three-days, which will be followed by an 'official' WSBK test next Monday and Tuesday, then the season-opening round at the Australian racetrack next weekend.

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes was fastest on day one of the private test, with Checa taking over on days two and three. Checa - who missed much of day two due to illness - finished the test 0.1sec ahead of Sykes, having set a 1min 31.8sec on race tyres during Wednesday's final day.

"We lost time yesterday because I was unwell; I stayed in bed for most of the morning and only went out on track from about 2.30pm. Despite that setback, we still got most of the work done luckily," said Checa. "Today was even hotter and we tried different things but it seems hard to make further improvements when we already feel like we're at the limit."

The 1200cc Ducati 1198 has been given an increased weight limit for the 2012 WSBK season, which Checa and the Althea team are still adjusting to.

"We started the season well here last year so we've compared last year's set-up to this year's, considering the extra 6kg, and we understand the direction to take," he said. "We'll continue with the work on Monday, concentrating mainly on the tyres and their behaviour in these hot conditions but for now I can say I'm satisfied."

The extra weight was also the main thing on Althea general manager Genesio Bevilacqua's mind.

"We were mainly checking the bike's set up and behaviour in light of the extra 6 kilos," he said. "It's clear that on this track Carlos is able to set some very fast times but this wasn't our main focus here. We've worked hard and I think it has paid off as we have a strong set-up and feel ready for the off.

"We of course have a significant disadvantage with the extra weight on board, and we've already seen here that riders like Laverty, Haslam, Biaggi and Sykes are strong, but we are confident in Carlos' abilities."

Checa's new team-mate Davide Giugliano was twelfth fastest out of the 18-riders present.

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