TOOELE VALLEY, UT, MAY 29 - Althea Racing Ducati's Carlos Checa earned his fourth pole in five tries this season on a wet track under threatening skies at Miller Motorsports Park.Other than at the previous round in Monza, where he qualified 11th, Checa has been perfect in Superpole all season. Today's pole came after time had expired on a track made wet from rains most of the day which stopped not long before Superpole.The Spaniard had finished the 12-minute Superpole 2 in second behind Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing's Jakub Smrz, on a track where he's both won and lost. Last year Checa was leading both races before being taken out by mechanical problems; in 2008 he won his first and second World Superbike races from his first pole.

Checa was on top with four minutes remaining in the ten minute session before being dropped by Smrz's teammate Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman who had a brief reign at the top.Checa went back into the lead at the 2:28 mark, dropping Guintoli and Smrz. But Smrz struck back early in the final minute with a lap that was half a second faster than the best of Checa, who wasn't long into his final lap. But when the lap was finished, Checa was again back on top though narrowly: His pole time of 1:58.315 mins. was .075 sec. faster than Smrz's.Yamaha's Marco Melandri qualified a season best third-his previous best was fifth in Monza-to earn his first front row starting spot. Teammate Eugene Laverty was .251 sec. behind at the end of the front row.Guintoli landed in fifth in front of BMW Motorrad's Troy Corser, who'd been on top early in Superpole 3.Seventh went to Max Biaggi. The Aprilia Alitalia rider denied himself a chance to improve his grid position when he ran off the track in turn six, rode through the muddy grass for what seemed an eternity, then tipped over, covering himself and his RSV4 Factory in mud.Superpole:1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:58.315

2. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:58.390

3. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:58.609

4. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:58.860

5. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:59.069

6. Troy Corser (BMW) 1:59.262

7. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:59.736

8. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:59.827

9. Nori Haga (Aprilia) 2:00.303

10. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 2:00.477

11. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 2:00.643

12. Leon Haslam (BMW) 2:01.127

 

 

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Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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