The contracts had already been signed, and the news already published, but the official announcement had yet to be made. The Althea Ducati World Superbike team announced its lineup for 2011 this weekend, and as expected, Carlos Checa was confirmed as staying with the team. The Spanish veteran has signed a two-year deal to race with the Althea team, taking him through his 40th birthday in 2012. Budgetary constraints mean it is uncertain whether the team will field a second rider, but even if they do, it will not be Althea's current number 2, Shane Byrne, who is currently without a ride for 2011.
Below is the text of the official press release, including the team's new Superstock program with a young Italian rider Lorenzo Baroni:
2011 SEASON: ALTHEA RACING RENEWS WITH CHECA AND DEBUTS IN SUPERSTOCK
Imola, 26th September 2010 – Carlos Checa will continue to ride Team Althea Racing's Ducati again in 2011. The agreement, recently renewed, will see the continuation of the Spanish rider's collaboration with the Italian team, captained by Genesio Bevilacqua, for the next two seasons.
With Checa on board, Team Althea Racing will attack the world championship, strengthened by both the experience gained during the current season and the relationship, one of reciprocal trust, built up between the team and Ducati. Bevilacqua, a big fan of Borgo-Panigale's "red" machine had accepted the challenge for 2011, and is aware of the potential of the 1198. "Thanks to the two year agreement signed with Checa and to Ducati for the precious support, we will strive to achieve great things", said Bevilacqua. "Carlos will help to develop the Italian manufacturer's racing activity and I am sure that we will make a good job of it. Carlos has already found the perfect mental balance so as to be able to get the best out of this bike and the team and therefore I have every confidence with regard to the future."
Shane Byrne's collaboration with the team will, on the other end, come to an end at the end of this season. "We have had a great relationship with Shane but unfortunately the economics of the situation will not allow us to continue to work with him. We do not however exclude the possibility of running a second bike."
Having defined its plans with regard to Superbike, the team turns its attention to a new venture: Team Althea Racing will debut in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup. Bevilacqua considers it to be a top level championship which can provide young talents with the necessary training to be able to progress to the higher classes. It is for this reason that the Italian team, based in Civita Castellana, will debut in the Superstock class with the Ducati 1198 in 2011.
Promising Italian youngster, 20-year old Lorenzo Baroni, will be entrusted with riding the bike. Having ridden in the 125 category until 2006, Baroni has participated in Superstock 1000 since 2007 and is considered one of the category's "experts". Althea Racing and Bevilacqua have followed the young rider's progress with interest and, convinced that he can be successful in 2011, have decided to bet on his character, talent and ambition. Baroni has the potential to be one of the protagonists of the championship.
"This decision is the result of a specific strategy", concludes Bevilacqua. "As well as challenging in the World Superbike Championship, we will also concentrate on identifying and developing new talents in a category that provides riders with great training. My challenge for the coming year, only possible thanks to the support of partners Stevenson & Bridley Associates and Bellariva Group, will be to draw out Lorenzo's full potential, guaranteeing maximum support from both a sporting and technical standpoint, with a view to launching him in the Superbike category in the future."