Team SBK Ducati Alstare prepares for action; the 2013 SBK season kicks off this weekend at Phillip Island

 
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The countdown to the start of the 2013 World Superbike championship continues… The season’s opening races are set to get underway this Friday at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia and Team SBK Ducati Alstare and its riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini are fully prepared for this exciting challenge.

Having completed a series of very useful tests in recent days, the team is busy making final preparations to the new 1199 Panigale bikes ahead of this weekend's action. Both riders will take the opportunity to rest up over the next two days, with Carlos recuperating from an intestinal problem and Ayrton from a hematoma near the liver that resulted from last week's crash.

The two Ducati Alstare flag bearers are enthusiastic about racing on the Australian track once more. Checa has been very successful at the Island in recent years, winning four of the last six races while Badovini has had less luck on Australian soil; a variety of technical issues during Superbike races have meant that his best result to date was a fourteenth place finish in 2011.

Carlos Checa: ‘I've always got on very well at Phillip Island and we have good references here that will be very useful. Of course, the race is going to be very hard and competitive and we don't really know how the tyre wear is going to be. It will be definitely be harder once the tyres are worn and that will affect the lap times. There are still some areas on the track where we struggle, like turn 3, and you have to have a lot of confidence going into turn 1 as it is so fast. It's hard to say what's going to happen in the race, but for sure a top six is possible depending on the conditions. After today, my aim is to be challenging the leaders.'

Checa's Superbike form at Phillip Island:
2012: Gara 1- DNF, Gara 2 - vincitore
2011: Gara 1- vincitore, Gara 2 - vincitore
2010: Race 1- 7th, Race 2 - winner
2009: Race 1 - 12th, Race 2 - 13th
2008: Race 1 - 6th, Race 2 - 2nd

Ayrton Badovini: ‘Everything depends on how I feel and it's too early to say what's going to happen on race day. If my condition is ok and I can push hard then I think I can be in the top 10 at least. I think we have a good base setting and everything we do at the moment seems to be taking us in the right direction. This will be my first race on a twin cylinder bike, but I know that this circuit generally suits Ducati bikes, so I'm hoping to have a good couple of races.'

Badovini's Superbike form at Phillip Island:
2012: Gara 1- DNF, Gara 2 - DNF
2011: Gara 1- 14°, Gara 2 - DNF

CIRCUIT DATA:
Country: Australia Name: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Length of circuit: 4.445 km Pole Position: left Race distance: 22 laps/97.790 km

LAP RECORDS: Best lap - Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'31.785 (2012). Superpole - Checa (Ducati) 1'30.882 (2011).

2012 RESULTS: Race 1 - 1. Biaggi (Aprilia); 2. Melandri (BMW); 3. Guintoli (Ducati). Race 2 - 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Biaggi (Aprilia); 3. Sykes (Kawasaki)

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