Checa grabs sixth season Superpole at Imola


Carlos Checa took his sixth Tissot Superpole win of the season on his Ducati at Imola, heading off Jonathan Rea with a new track best of 1 minute 47.196 seconds.

"I'm really happy with today's pole because it comes just at the right time," Checa said. "I was having some problems with the first Q tyre and had to use the second, to then do the final stage without a qualifier. I gave it my all in the final phase and was able to make a very fast, very clean lap, but you always have that doubt at the end that maybe someone went faster in the final seconds! Rea was really strong today and I knew he'd be there on the front row. I'm looking forward to two really competitive races tomorrow."

Jonathan Rea came within a tenth of Checa in the final session, with Aprilia rider Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team) third and fastest man from combined qualifying.

Having been fastest in yesterday's qualifying session, Rea was second fastest this morning as he and his Castrol Honda team continue to develop a new ride-by-wire system for their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades.

The system allows Rea's data engineers to dial in precise throttle opening electronically, rather than using a physical cable. However, the team is keen to emphasise that the system is still in the early stages of development.

"We were nearly there! I made a mistake on my first lap in Superpole three and, although I had another go, I'd used up most of the tyre by then," Rea said.

"But it's SO nice to be back here and, although Superpole is pretty minor compared to the races, we're in a good position, so I'm really looking forward to them. It's been a big journey to get here, recovering from injury with the help of medical staff and my family, but the team has also been working so hard with this new system. While I'm really looking forward to racing here at Imola tomorrow, we've got one eye on 2012 and I've a sneaking suspicion we can be quite competitive then as well.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) fourth, and the last rider on the front row.

"We had some success in Germany with a win at the last round but wet conditions are a great levelling factor, and I had a good package to work with as well. The test we did at Misano recently was also good in the dry," Sykes explained.

"We confirmed some geometry and chassis settings there that we had been trying out and I was considerably faster than the race at Misano this year. We kept those settings on the bike and came here with minimal changes, and it all shows that we are getting there now. The 1'47.799 I did to lead combined qualifying this morning I was happy with, as it was done on a relatively hard race tyre. We are not in a bad situation. After Superpole Two I was quite confident to get pole position but I think we had reached our limit. A front row place in dry conditions is another step forward for all of us in the team. We also got away with using a race tyre in Superpole One so that was a refreshing change."

Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) was fifth, Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) sixth, Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) seventh and Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) eighth. Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team), Checa's main championship rival exited in Superpole 2, and he now starts from ninth place on the grid, at the head of the third row.

Main Photo: Carlo Checa

SUPERBIKE - Superpole 3
1. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'47.196
2. Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 1'47.274
3. Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.442
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.468
5. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) Yamaha YZF R1 1'47.929
6. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.081
7. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.234
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'48.416
9. Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) Yamaha YZF R1 1'47.781
10. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.858
11. Michel Fabrizio (Team Suzuki Alstare) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'48.126
12. Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1'48.334
13. Jakub Smrz (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'48.741
14. Federico Sandi (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'48.812
15. Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.894
16. Alessandro Polita (Barni Racing Team S.N.C.) Ducati 1098R 1'49.091
17. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.159
18. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.185
19. Matteo Baiocco (Barni Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1'49.378
20. Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 1'49.595
21. Roberto Rolfo (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.668
22. Javier Fores (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.888

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