WSBK Interview: Carlos Checa Talks Retirement

Gordon Ritchie | October 30, 2013

Carlos Checa announced what had seemed the only rational decision after his big pelvic injury at Istanbul, that he would retire forthwith, ending his career at a Spanish race, albeit not riding.

When asked exactly when he decided to stop was simple for Checa – and recent.

“It was at the time I should decide what to do next year,” the former World Superbike Champion said. “I had some offers and I was in a situation that I am in, and I had to decide if I continue racing or stop. I did not want to have a compromise. I did not want to approach something that I did not really feel for. I can race one more year, I feel I have the talent, the way of how to do it, but honestly I have to ask myself, my instinct, the spirit probably more than any other thing – and probably in that moment the spirit was a little bit… in some years I felt that, ‘Ah, maybe that was a sh&% year,’ and maybe I was looking for a new goal. But this time was different.”

Retiring was made simpler by the fact that Checa did finally win his World Championship and for Ducati, in 2011, after a long time of trying.

“I had a long career and after I won the title it was like I closed some part of my life,” Checa said. “Winning that championship was like the last thing, like a graduation. I had been fighting to win the title, but always I made a mistake, or I found a limitation here, but I was always improving. That time in 2011 I had the opportunity and I was able to do a perfect season. I did not make the mistakes I did in the past. I was able to be a better rider, and I was able to approach the races, the important moments, with the capacity to think to be able to be myself. For me this was a great satisfaction, because I was able. Then the next year, what was I able to do, to repeat? Then I was easy to continue with the Ducati people because we got the right people in the team, I wanted to continue with them, and we were still fighting for the championship, then the new rules for sure did not talk for Ducati.

“I think they talked against Ducati completely. I understand why but then this gave some advantage to the other manufacturers. But for me it was enough. Then they said a new Panigale, very important for us. When I tested I said we are not at the level with this bike; I did not feel we can go, but because of the technical rule. But they promise me, they say they will work, we will work but anyway, I decided wanted to finish my career with Ducati. There is always intention, and decision. I have to put some intention in my mind because I do not want to protect my future for so long, but always you have some intention. My intention was an idea, to work with Ducati and finish my career with them because for me it was enough. Then I thought, ‘Okay, I will go ahead with Panigale, and maybe we can succeed. Maybe not this year, because it is very difficult and it is very young, and maybe it will be an opportunity for 2014 – if I see no progress then I finish.’ This was my intention, not a decision. Decisions you must take when opportunities arrive, because you can still tell people thank you, but no. I had the opportunity to continue, sometimes you do not have, and you need to stop. I was able to look forward and make my own decision, so say thanks, but enough.”

To read more of the Carlos Checa interview, click here

Gordon Ritchie | World Superbike Editor

You may not understand Ritchie and his Scottish accent if you had him on the phone, but you can definitely understand what he writes as our World Superbike editor.