Althea Racing's Carlos Checa remained atop the World Superbike field after the final qualifying session prior to Superpole, but he now has serious company in the form of World Champion Max Biaggi.As he has been from the get-go, Checa was the fastest of the fast, but in the second qualifying session today (Saturday in Australia), Biaggi made his move, improving to second fastest and just .205 of a second behind Checa.Checa lapped at 1:31.577 in the morning session, but failed to improve in the final session. Biaggi was the opposite, lapping at 1:32.09 in the morning before ripping off a 1:31.782 in the later session.Tom Sykes showed the potential of the new Kawasaki ZX-10R, the Brit putting the bike third best going into Superpole with his 1:31.813. Fourth fastest after the two sessions was Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli on a Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati. Guintoli's best came in the first session.Fifth fastest heading to Superpole, which takes the top 16 from the two qualifying sessions, was Castrol Honda's Jonathan Rea. Then came the first Yamaha, in the hands of World Superbike rookie Eugene Laverty. Laverty was well off his morning best in the afternoon session and slipped down the order as Biaggi, Sykes and Rea all shuffled him down.BMW's Leon Haslam ended up seventh ahead of Jakub Smrz, Joan Lascorz and Alstare Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio. The last man on the same second as Checa was Troy Corser in 15th place as Superpole promises to be a heated affair.

Final Qualifying

1.                  Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:31.577

2.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:31.782

3.                  Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:31.813

4.                  Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:31.850

5.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:31.906

6.                  Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:31.969

7.                  Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:32.023

8.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:32.066

9.                  Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1:32.085

10.                  Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1:32.108

 

World Superbike Headlines

By Cycle News Staff

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