Seeking his sixth podium-finish of the 2010 World Superbike season, Althea Racing Ducati rider Carlos Checa got off to a good start at Imola Friday, posting the fastest time in the both free practice and qualifying practice.
During the first WSBK free practice session, the 37-year-old posted a 1:49.070, just edging out his teammate Shane Bryne by 0.085 of a second.
The Spaniard and his teammate were followed by another twin-cylinder machine, the Xerox Ducati ridden by Michel Fabrizio. Fourth quickest in World SBK free practice 1 was Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea, followed by Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R
During qualifying practice, Checa had a late charge in Italy, beating out Rea by 0.383 of a second. The man currently second in the championship, Suzuki Alstare’s Leon Haslam, was third fastest, with the Ducati Xerox team of Noriyuki Haga and Fabrizio fourth and fifth fastest.
The series leader, Alitalia Aprilia rider Max Biaggi, couldn’t get his RSV4 to hook up at his native-Italy track, and had to settle for 14th fastest with a 1:49.613. Biaggi was 1.435 of a second behind Checa’s time.
The only American currently competing in World Superbike, Roger Lee Hayden, posted a 1:52.106. giving him the 19th-fastest time. The Pedercini Team rider was almost 4 seconds slower than Checa.
Twenty-two riders practiced Friday at Imola, except for Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia), who is recuperating from an operation on his wrist; the Brit sustained the injury in a crash at Nurburgring.
The riders will be back on track tomorrow at 10:45 local time for another round of free and qualifying practices, and then Superpole.
Imola World Superbike: Friday Qualifying Results:
1. Carlos Checa, Ducati, 1:48.178
2. Jonathan Rea, Honda, 1:48.558
3. Leon Haslam, Suzuki, 1:48.621
4. Noriyuki Haga, Ducati, 1:48.660
5. Michel Fabrizio, Ducati, 1:48.667
6. Shane Byrne, Ducati, 1:48.752
7. Cal Cruthlow, Yamaha, 1:48.813
8. Troy Corser, BMW, 1:48.851
9. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki, 1:48.970
10. Ruben Xaus, BMW, 1:49.224
11. Lorenzo Lanzi, Ducati, 1:49.275
12. James Toseland, Yamaha, 1:49.528
13. Sylvain Guintoli, Suzuki, 1:49.560
14. Max Biaggi, Aprilia, 1:49.613
15. Max Neukirchner, Honda, 1:49.622
19. Roger Lee Hayden, Kawaskai, 1:52.106