Carlos Checa was relieved to escape Monza still with a comfortable points lead after his toughest weekend of the season so far.

The Ducati 1098R struggled for pace on the long straights of Monza, leaving the Spaniard with a damage limitation exercise on his hands. After qualifying 11th, Checa spent much of race one battling with the Alitalia Aprilia of Leon Camier. The Briton eventually did his teammate and championship contender Max Biaggi a huge favour by beating Checa for eighth place.

The Spaniard later explained that he had tried so hard to make up for the lack of straight line speed that he compromised himself in the battle with Camier.

“We're satisfied because we were aware of our limitations before we arrived here at Monza and we knew that it would be difficult to reach the podium. In race one, I had to push so hard on the straights that it probably affected the tyre because in the last laps the performance had really dropped off and I couldn't get ahead of Camier.”

In race two, Checa benefited from the first corner incident which took out three riders and was running as high as sixth before mechanical problems dropped him down the order. Despite a challenging weekend, Checa felt the weekend was successful for him in his quest to win the world title.

“In the second race we had good pace until three laps from the end when I had an engine problem. It slowed me down so much that I was lucky even to finish. I closed in ninth and tenth position today and, all things considered, these are good points for us at Monza. We leave here with a 27-point lead which surprises me to tell the truth. We're really happy and will now concentrate on the next round at Miller, where I hope to be able to make two great races.”

Checa will look to get back on the pace when the World Superbike Championship moves to the Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City in three weeks time.