2011 World Superbike champion Carlos Checa will announce his retirement from racing Saturday at Jerez after a disappointing and injury-marred 2013 season with Ducati and the lack of a strong offer for 2014.
The revelation comes as little surprise, as rumors have percolated about Checa's end game since his season ended after suffering a fractured pelvis and injuries to his wrist and chest in a crash last month at Istanbul. But it still removes one of the most experienced and likeable characters of the last two decades from competition.
Spaniard Checa is a rare breed among current riders. He has raced on 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, 800cc and 990cc machinery in Grand Prix racing, winning twice in the premier class on a 500cc bike fielded by Sito Pons. Checa also won 24 races on 1000cc World Superbike machines from 2008-13, including 15 during his title-winning 2011 season for Ducati.
Checa was initially regarded as one of "Dorna's dandys" when he started racing a 500 because he didn't have the consistent pace to keep a GP ride, some thought. Staying in the saddle helped Checa become one of the most consistent riders in either world championship.
Checa and Alstare Ducati hit hard times this season with the Panigale. His best finish was sixth in the second race at Estoril. He also suffered a rash of injuries in crashes on the recalcitrant bike, including a concussion at Phillip Island and a shoulder problem. It was clear at Laguna Seca WSBK that Ducati was looking for a younger rider for 2014.
Checa apparently negotiated with Althea Aprilia and Kawasaki for a ride for next season, according to European media reports. But Checa's salary demands apparently were too rich for Althea, and Kawasaki decided to stick with Loris Baz, who at age 20 is less than half the age of Checa, 41.