World Championship points leader Carlos Checa continued his domination of World Superbike racing today in the opening qualifying session at the Misano Adriatico circuit in Italy, the Spaniard’s best coming at the end of the session after he’d already led morning practice.Checa’s best was a 1:36.024, but he had plenty of company as 13 riders were within a second of the Althea Ducati rider – led by Aprilia’s Max Biaggi who was just .125 of a second adrift of the man trying to steal away his World Championship.Yamaha’s Marco Melandri was third with a 1:36.482 – a massive improvement over his 10th fastest time in morning practice. Melandri was .458 of a second off Checa and led a horde of riders in the 1:36s.
Suzuki Alstare’s Michel Fabrizio filled the provisional front row for Sunday’s two races at the track close to the Adriatic Sea.BMW’s Troy Corser was next, the Australian suffering a crash late in the session. Then came Eugene Laverty on the second factory Yamaha, the Northern Irelander just .030 of a second ahead of Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati’s Jakub Smrz.Noriyuki Haga was next, followed closely by Smrz’ teammate Sylvain Guintoli, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, BMW’s Leon Haslam and Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea – the four separated by just .096 of a second.Leon Camier, another crasher in the session, ended up 13th and the last man within a second of Checa. The entire 23-rider field was in fact separated by just 1.9 seconds with BMW Italia’s Lorenzo Lanzi ending up 23rd, just behind Kawasaki’s Chris Vermeulen.The provisional front row features four different manufacturers – Ducati, Aprilia, Yamaha and Suzuki – with Corser’s BMW making it five different manufacturers in the top five.
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:36.024
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:36.149
3. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:36.482
4. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1:36.546
5. Troy Corser (BMW) 1:36.656
6. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:36.683
7. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:36.713
8. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 1:36.728
9. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:36.753
10. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:36.793