Checa to the fore once more


A scintillating lap from Carlos Checa secured a second consecutive pole position for the championship leader during today’s Superpole session.

The Spaniard, riding for the Althea Ducati squad, topped Superpole 2 and 3 to claim the World Superbike pole position of his career. Checa will be joined on the front row by Leon Haslam after the BMW rider enjoyed a promising session at his home track.

While Checa and Haslam impressed to set fast times Tom Sykes shocked everyone with the third fastest time, the Kawasaki rider was as aggressive as ever with the wild Englishman even topping Superpole 1. Jakub Smrz was the final man on the front row.

The second row was made up of three Aprilias with Nori Haga setting the fifth fastest time and looking much more at home on the RSV4 today. The Japanese star looked uncomfortable aboard the bike in the opening round but was at his spectacular best today to beat factory riders Max Biaggi and Leon Camier.

They will be joined on the second row by the Castrol Honda of Jonathon Rea. The Irishman has struggled with tyre issues throughout the weekend and ended the session 1.4s adrift of Checa. Even though the bike is clearly a handful for Rea his racecraft should see him quite competitive tomorrow and it would be surprising if he does not make progress in the races.

Marco Melandri was the unlikely rider not to make it into the final shootout. The Italian has been fast and consistent all weekend but his form deserted him in Superpole. He showed in the opening round that he is one of the most intelligent riders on the grid and as a result he should not be underestimated tomorrow. Troy Corser, Michele Fabrizio and Joan Lascorz complete the rest of the third row.

Ireland’s Eugene Laverty had a massive crash on the Craner Curves in Superpole 1. The factory Yamaha rider made a mistake on his opening flying lap and was lucky not to struck by his cart-wheeling bike as he slid down the hillside that forms one of the most exciting series of corners in the world.

Luckily for Laverty the incident occurred on his first flying lap and he had enough time to get back to the pits and use the spare bike. Unfortunately he was left with only four minutes to qualify for the second session. The times have been incredibly close all weekend and even though Eugene was just 0.7s slower than the fastest time in the session he was 13th fastest and failed to progress.

Sylvain Guintoli has few fond memories of Donington Park, he suffered a serious leg fracture at the circuit while racing in British Superbikes, and the Frenchman struggled for pace today setting the 14th fastest time. The Ducati rider, teammate of front row man Smrz, ended the session faster than only Maxime Berger and Ruben Xaus.

For a full classification of times from the Superpole session click here

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