JEREZ, Spain — Former World Superbike champion Carlos Checa is retiring.
The Ducati rider made the announcement Saturday in Jerez where the final round of the World Superbike Championship is taking place this weekend.
The Catalonian rider, who celebrated his 41st birthday just a few days ago, made his debut on the world scene back in 1993, when he took part in the GP 250 championship. In the twenty years that followed, he went on to compete in the 500, MotoGP and Superbike championships.
Having raced with Ducati in MotoGP in 2005, 2010 saw Carlos return to Ducati but this time in the World Superbike championship. An important decision, but also an inspiring and positive one, given that, after finishing third overall in 2010, he won the world title with Ducati and the Althea Racing team the following year, in 2011.
Unfortunately Checa has not been able to end his career as he would have wanted, due to a bad accident at Istanbul last month which has prevented him from participating in the final rounds of this 2013 season. Despite a challenging season this year, Checa is retiring from professional motorsport a satisfied man, taking with him countless successes, memories and lifelong friendships.
“This year I am celebrating 20 years of racing at world championship level,” Checa said. “I am extremely proud of this long sporting career, which has given me many special memories of all the teams I have worked with. I have had the opportunity to compete at the highest level, riding the best bikes and winning against the best rivals. My aim has always been to discover my limits and to be able to take a close look at myself in order to continue to learn, grow and become a better rider and a better person.
“This is something that would not have possible without taking this path, full of risk, but which has also provided me with great challenges, adversaries and emotions; a long climb which culminated with my best season in 2011. There is a moment that will always arrive in the life of a sportsman, the day on which you say enough is enough. This day has arrived for me today. It was not an easy decision, but one that I’ve thought long and hard about.”
Checa has no regrets.
“I am grateful to the entire motorcycle family, to those who make it possible for this world to exist and especially to those who have supported me and followed me from the start, for having given me the opportunity to pursue my dream and live a life that I wouldn’t have changed for any other,” he said. “I will now move on to discover new things about myself, a new and stimulating phase now begins for me in Ducati. It will take time to adapt but I am confident about my future and the satisfactions that it will surely continue to give me. Thanks again to everyone for being here to support me on what is a very special day for me, definitely emotional but also unforgettable.”
Such passion and dedication could not end with goodbye. As Checa announced his retirement, Ducati took the opportunity to confirm that Checa will have a role as ambassador, allowing the Catalonian to continue to collaborate with Borgo Panigale as a very special Ducatista.
In celebration of Carlos’ 20th anniversary of competition, Nolan wanted to create a commemorative helmet, with special graphics dedicated to this important milestone. The helmet was presented this afternoon, just after Checa’s retirement announcement, further heightening emotions for those present.
Another demonstration of affection and esteem arrives from the circuit of Jerez, that has decided to dedicate a part of its “Hall of Fame” in its new museum (that will be opened to the public in 2014) to Carlos Checa, his brilliant career and SBK world title — he remains the only Spanish rider up until now to have achieved this goal.