Johnny Rea took the glory in today’s opening qualifying session for the championship deciding World Superbike finale.

As Haga and Spies set the third and ninth fastest times respectively, Rea lapped the 4.92km circuit in a time of 1:43.786, beating Troy Bayliss‘s 2008 lap record along the way.

“That was a good first day and we've found a good balance with the bike.” Rea expressed.

“We've been trying to put some distance on race tyres and we only used three tyres today. I'm finding more confidence on the bike each time I go out and the team is working really well.”

Despite his performance today, Rea was quick to note that there is still a lot of work to do for the rest of the weekend.

“We're not getting ahead of ourselves though, and know that we need to go out and attack tomorrow, just like we did today. This is quite a technical track and I felt like I really gelled with it for the first time during that session. That's not all down to me, but also to the hard work the team has been putting in recently.”

Team-mate Carlos Checa also made it on to the provisional front-row with a time of 1:43.945.

The Spaniard was happy with his time but was looking forward to improving his time in tomorrow’s sessions.

It seems that we have a base setting that works really well at places like Brno, Nurburgring and here, while it is more critical at other tracks like Imola and Magny-Cours.” said Checa.

“Here, we are again on the pace, even though there are still some areas we need to work on. Today, I tested both bikes and the two tyre options and, although the setting's were quite different, the lap times were similar. We will try to push for tomorrow and make some longer runs on the tyres, but I think we are already nearly ready.”

Team manager Ronald ten Kate praised the hard work the team has put in over the season: “Having two bikes on the provisional front row is testimony to the hard work that the riders and their crews have been putting in during the year. There is still some more work to do, of course, and we will start to put that in this evening to see where we can make some improvements for tomorrow.”