John Hopkins started his World Superbike career this morning by putting the Stiggy Honda CBR1000RR 16th in the first practice session at the Valencia Circuit in Spain. But that 16th was within a second of the top man from this morning's free practice - Carlos Checa.And Hopkins' best was also better than Yamaha's Ben Spies, the Texan just a few tenths behind in 17th spot. The first qualifying session for the third round of the World Superbike Championship will be held later today.Perhaps all Carlos Checa needed to get his season going was some home cooked meals because he led this morning's session with a 1:35.673 to best Alstare Suzuki's Yukio Kagayama and Aprilia's Max Biaggi.World Championship leader Noriyuki Haga was ninth on the factory Xerox Ducati.Hopkins completed 21 laps during this morning's first session and ended up four spots behind his teammate Leon Haslam - but just .239 of a second behind the Brit.

Friday Practice

1. Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:35.673

2. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki) 1:35.741

3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:35.805

4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 1:35.839

5. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:36.027

6. Jakub Smrz (Ducat) 1:36.110

7. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1:36.160

8. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) 1:36.205

9. Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) 1:36.221

10. Regis Laconi (Ducati) 1:36.369

11. Tom Sykes (Yamaha) 1:36.398

12. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:36.407

13. Troy Corser (BMW) 1:36.450

14. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:36.599

15. Shinya Nakano (Aprilia) 1:36.643

16. John Hopkins (Honda) 1:36.646

17. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:36.690

18. Shayne Byrne (Ducati) 1:36.791

19. Brendan Roberts (Ducati) 1:36.802

20. Karl Muggeridge (Suzuki) 1:37.045

World Superbike Headlines

By Cycle News Staff

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