Carlos Checa seems to have picked up in England right where he left off in Australia. After the first one-hour practice session at Donington Park, Checa and his Althea Racing Ducati were at the top of the time sheets, the opening round winner from Phillip Island the only rider to crack into the 1:29s.Checa's best came very late in the session, a 1:29.978 in World Superbike's return to Donington Park. That lap was good enough to knock Yamaha;'s Marco Melandri from the top spot, the Italian just .156 of a second behind as 11 riders finished within a second of Checa.Jonathan Rea was third fastest on the Castrol Honda, the Ulsterman lapping at 1:30.184 to hold off BMW's Leon Haslam as seven different manufacturers completed the top seven in the field.Kawasaki was represented well in fifth place with Joan Lascorz also in the 1:30s at 1:30.667. Then came the lone Suzuki in the field with Michel Fabrizio putting the Alstare GSX-R1000 into sixth, just a few ticks faster than the lone Aprilia in the top 10 ridden by World Champion Max Biaggi.The first manufactuer to have two bikes in the top 10 was BMW with Ayron Badovini surprising many with his 1:30.927 - a time that had him at the top for a short period. Badovini is going it alone this week after James Toseland suffered a wrist injury during testing.Kawasaki's Tom Sykes and Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati's Jakub Smrz rounded out the top 10 from today's opening session.Aussie Chris Vermeulen returned to the track today, the Kawasaki rider ending up with the 19th best time. It was his first action in World Superbike since July of last year.

Friday Practice

1.                  Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:29.978

2.                  Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:30.134

3.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:30.184

4.                  Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:30.566

5.                  Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1:30.687

6.                  Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1:30.789

7.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:30.797

8.                  Anton Badovini (BMW) 1:30.927

9.                  Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:30.842

10.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:30.86

World Superbike Headlines

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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