Althea Racing Ducati's Carlos Checa snatched provisional pole position from his young teammate Davide Giugliano in the waning minutes of the first qualifying session for Sunday's two World Superbike races at the Nurburgring in Germany, the defending World Champion lapping under the lap record set in 2010 by Jonathan Rea.
Checa's best lap of 1:55.307 came late in the 45-minute session and it came at the expense of Giugliano, the Italian having gone to the top over Kawasaki's Tom Sykes with some eight minutes to go. Giugliano ended up with a best of 1:55.750 after having led the morning session with a 1:56.395. He ended the day .443 of a second behind his teammate.
Sykes held on for third, the 2012 Superpole leader turning in a best of 1:56.802. The provisional front row was filled by Eugene Laverty, the Aprilia-mounted Irishman bouncing back from a crash in the morning session in Germany. Laverty lapped at 1:56.813 to end up just over half a second off Checa's best.
The factory BMW of Leon Haslam was next, the Brit leading the provisional second row over Aprilia's Max Biaggi, Honda's Jonathan Rea and Fixi Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier.
Chaz Davies ended up ninth on the ParkinGO Aprilia with Lorenzo Zanetti rounding out the top 10 on his PATA Racing Ducati.
Championship leader Marco Melandri ended the day 12th on the factory BMW, the Italian ending up 1.190 seconds behind Checa after suffering a crash just two minutes into the session. Melandri, who had been third in the morning practice behind Giugliano and his championship rival Biaggi, wasn't injured in the crash and he managed to improve his time from the morning, though not his position.
Californian John Hopkins ended the session in 18th with Canadian Brett McCormick 22nd in his return to action following his early season injury.
The big news of the day was that Lorenzo Lanzi has replaced Jakub Smrz on the Effenbert Liberty Racing team, though there was no word on what led to the change. Lanzi ended the day in 21st and Smrz was a no-show in Germany. Lanzi won the Dutch round of the World Supersport Series earlier in the year in a one-off ride for the Honda ProRace team.
"The Effenbert Liberty Racing Team goes on in its reorganization of its human, technical and logistical resources for the next racing season," a release from the team stated. "For this reason the team would like to inform that for this Germany GP the Italian rider Lorenzo Lanzi replaces Kuba SmrÅ¾."
Lanzi joined McCormick and Maxime Berger on the Effenbert Liberty squad.
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:55.307
2. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:55.750
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:55.802
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1:55.813
5. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:55.838
6. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:55.838
7. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:55.891
8. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1:55.949
9. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1:56.399
10. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1:56.461
18. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:57.592