Checa predicts tough race at Monza

Reigning champion Carlos Checa expects his Monza struggles to continue when the Superbike World Championship returns to the Milan circuit this weekend.

Motorsport News: Carlos Checa

Checa and his Althea Ducati were the dominant force as the Spaniard romped to the title last season, but his toughest weekend of last year by quite some distance came at Monza.

The former MotoGP racer qualified outside the top 10 on that occasion and could only manage finishes of ninth and 10th as the Italian machine struggled to match its rivals down the long straights.

And with the 1198 having to carry an extra six kilograms of weight this season, Checa is expecting a damage limitation exercise and expects principal rival and championship leader Max Biaggi to extend his current points lead of one point on his Aprilia.

"We know that Monza will probably be the hardest round on the calendar for us and the Ducati, something we have also seen in the last two seasons," he said.

"We will do our best to take as many points as possible but realise that this weekend will be mainly about containing the damage.

"Two top 10 finishes would be good, and finishing inside the top five would feel like a win for us here."

One man who has fond memories of Monza is Northern Ireland's Eugene Laverty.

Laverty took a double win at this round last season for Yamaha and, after an injury-hit start to his time with Aprilia, is feeling more confident after picking up his first podium for the team at Assen last time out.

And the 25-year-old is hoping for a repeat this weekend.

"I was happy with my debut podium on the Aprilia at Assen following a tough start to the season," he said. "The team were very supportive and never lost faith in my ability so it was nice to reward them with a podium finish.

"I'm really looking forward to Monza as the Aprilia is very fast in a straight line. I had a double victory at the circuit last year so I'd love nothing more than to do the same again this time around."

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