Exclusive: Ducati legend Paul Smart rides Checa's WSBK title winner17/10/2011
By David Miller at Portimao
Image by GeeBee Images
Imola 200 winner and Ducati legend Paul Smart today turned in 16 laps on Carlos Checa's World Superbike title-winning 1198 at Portugal's Portimao circuit.
Smart rode the same bike on which Checa cruised to victory in the opening leg of Sunday's double-header. The sixty-something ex-Grand Prix rider was meant to do an out lap, a flier and an in lap but Althea boss Genesio Bevilacqua is such a fan of Smart, the old duffer was given carte blanche to lap as much as he wanted.
"What a buzz. It was such an honour to ride the bike but a bit nerve-wracking doing it in front of the bike's owner and the guy who won the championship on it. I can imagine Carlos may have been pacing a bit, I would have been if it had been one of mine," said Smart, speaking to bikesportnews.com this evening.
"It's quite a unique experience riding something with 220bhp or something daft. The engine is massively tractable and the brakes are out of this world - real one-finger stopping power. I was looking at the rev counter down the straight, I got to nine and it goes past 12,000rpm so I was using about half the power. It is one of those incredible, memorable days and thanks to Genesio and his team for letting me out."
Check back tomorrow to see the video of Smart and the 1198. Smart would like to thanks Fast Bikes' Al Fagan for having a massive-enough head to lend him his Shark lid and to Axo for the loan of some leathers.