Althea Racing Ducati's Carlos Checa continued his march to the 2011 World Superbike Championship by speeding to his sixth pole of the season for Sunday's Imola round of the championship, while Yamaha's Marco Melandri, the only rider with the slimmest hope of stopping him, didn't make it through to Superpole 3.Checa was near the top of the order in Superpoles 1 and 2, but didn't show his hand until Superpole 3. Yamaha's Eugene Laverty led Superpole 1 from PATA Racing Team Aprilia's Nori Haga with Checa third. Haga was fastest in Superpole 2 ahead of Kawasaki's Tom Sykes, with Checa again third. But when it mattered, Checa got down to business.

In the ten minute Superpole 3, Haga started quickly before Checa dropped him with the fastest lap of the weekend of the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit. The Spaniard's lap of 1:47.196 mins. that came less than four minutes in would prove to be untouchable. Checa didn't improve on it and no other rider came close.Closest was Castrol Honda's Jonny Rea. Rea was second at 1:47.274 mins., with Haga landing in third at 1:47.442 mins. Then came Sykes at 1:47.468 mins.Laverty finished fifth (1:47.929 mins.) in front of Leon Haslam, the factory BMW Motorrad rider finishing less than a tenth of a second up on the BMW Motorrad Italia machine of Ayrton Badovini. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati) was the final rider in Superpole 3 in eighth.Yamaha's Melandri was a disappointing ninth in front of the home crowd. Melandri trails Checa by 74 points, 302 to 376, with three rounds and six races remaining, and 150 points still up for grabs. If Checa finishes the weekend with a points lead of 100 or more, the World Superbike will go to Spain for the first time.Superpole:1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:47.196

2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:47.274

3. Nori Haga (Aprilia) 1:47.442

4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:47.468

5. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:47.929

6. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:48.081

7. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:48.234

8. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:48.416

9. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:48.844

10. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1:49.282

 

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Jean Turner | Contributor

A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.

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