Checa was looking forward to the return of the Jerez venue for the 2013 SBK Series tour, since it would be his home race. Unfortunately, the Althea Ducati Panigale team leader suffered serious injuries at the round in Istanbul in mid-September, and this incident lead to his retirement decision.
Greeting the crowd at Jerez while walking on crutches due to his broken pelvis, Checa was in fine form, chatting with all his former adversaries. Checa joined the top qualifiers after Tissot SuperPole for the Media session, and clearly enjoyed the crowd’s emotional chants of “Bravo, Checa.”
“I’m pleased to be here even if I don’t get to race,” said Checa in English following some comments in his first language of Spanish. “It’s great to have a chance to say hello to everyone, and have a chance to say thanks to everyone.”
“This series has a really great paddock, and I have really great memories from racing in Superbike,” continued the 2011 World SBK Champion. “When I get better from my injuries, I still want to be able to ski and dance. I really wanted to finish this season on my bike, but it didn’t work out that way in the end.”
Checa’s impressive career started with a climb through the ranks of the Grand Prix classes, at a time when Spanish riders were coming to the fore in World Championship competition. Checa rode 125cc, 250cc and 500cc Grand Prix class two-stroke race bikes, and then competed aboard 990cc and 800cc four-strokes as the series switched to MotoGP spec.
Then Checa switched to the World Superbike class, first having success with Ten Kate Honda before his impressive run for Ducati on their Desmo twins. Checa dominated the 2011 season with the 1098 Ducati, then had occasional success with the same machine last season even with throttle body restrictions and increased ballast.
Checa’s 2013 program with the new generation Ducati Panigale had been troubled, and rumors suggested he would switch to Aprilia or Kawasaki for 2014. However his recent injuries convinced the popular Spanish racer to retire instead. Chaz Davies is rumored to be taking his spot in Ducati’s Superbike rider line-up.