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Checa Hits Top Form in Donington Superpole

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Championship leader Carlos Checa will start tomorrow's World Superbike races from pole position after setting the fastest time at the slightly revised Donington Park circuit.

The Spaniard cruised through the first two Superpole sessions without any great difficulty and unleashed the potential of his Ducati 1098R in SP3.

 The 38 year old produced lap time of 1:28.099 with four minutes of the session remaining, before matching it on his next flying lap, to finish a quarter of a second ahead of Leon Haslam.

Britain will be well represented at the front of the grid with Tom Sykes qualifying an excellent third. The Kawasaki rider had topped the timesheets in SP1 with a 1:28.548 and all but equalled it in the final 10 minutes to qualify 0.005 seconds ahead of Jakub Smrz.

Surprisingly, the fastest Aprilia in Superpole was not reigning champion Max Biaggi. The Italian had a messy final session which saw him hold up Noriyuki Haga when cruising back to the pits. Despite that, the Japanese rider still took fifth, with Biaggi only sixth.

Leon Camier and Jonathan Rea completed an outstanding day for the British quartet, with all four making it through to SP3. Camier qualified seventh, just a fraction slower than teammate Biaggi, while Rea will round out the second row.

There was another big shock in SP2 with the elimination of Marco Melandri. The Italian had set the second fastest time in the Qualifying Practice sessions, and was expected to challenge for pole position.

But a late flyer from Camier dropped him down to ninth, and a place on the third row. He will start alongside Troy Corser, Michel Fabrizio and Joan Lascorz.

Eugene Laverty completed a nightmare afternoon for Yamaha, after a spectacular accident on his first flying lap in SP1, left him in the drop zone.

The Irishman recovered back to the pits and made it back out on track in the dying minutes. He even jumped up into the top 12, before being usurped by Michel Fabrizio, and despite improving on his final attempt, he couldn't make it into SP2.

He will be joined on the fourth row of the grid by Sylvain Guintoli, Maxime Berger and Ruben Xaus.

Ayrton Badovini missed out on the Superpole session and will start 17th, with the Team Pedercini Kawasakis of Roberto Rolfo and Mark Aitchison next up.

World Superbikes returnee Chris Vermeulen will start at the back of the grid, with the first of tomorrow's two races starting at 12:00 BST.

Superpole Result:

Pos Rider Team Lap Time
1 Carlos Checa Althea Racing 1:28.099
2 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport 1:28.365
3 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team 1:28.556
4 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing 1:28.561
5 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 1:28.673
6 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:28.702
7 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:28.737
8 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 1:29.514
Eliminated in Superpole 2:
9 Marco Melandri Yamaha World Superbike Team 1:28.803
10 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad Motorsport 1:28.836
11 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 1:29.135
12 Joan Lascorz Kawasaki Racing Team 1:29.422
Eliminated in Superpole 1:
13 Eugene Laverty Yamaha World Superbike Team 1:29.312
14 Sylvain Guintoli  Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing 1:29.879
15 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Team 1:30.002
16 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 1:30.076
Failed to Qualify for Superpole Session:
17 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 1:30.169
18 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini 1:30.680
19 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini 1:31.117
20 Chris Vermeulen Kawasaki Racing Team 1:31.485
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MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and WorldSBK writer for The Checkered Flag. Contact: [email protected]
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