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Checa tops first qualifying at Phillip Island

by admin on Пятница, Февраль 25th, 2011

Carlos Checa maintained a comfortable margin at the top of the timesheets in first qualifying for the opening World Superbike meeting of the season at Phillip Island.

His time of a minute 31.577 seconds was three-tenths quicker than Sylvain Guintoli, with Ireland’s Eugene Laverty third.

Leon Haslam was the fastest Briton in sixth, with Jonathan Rea ninth, Tom Sykes 13th and James Toseland 15th ahead of Leon Camier.

Including the four test sessions earlier this week, Checa has now topped five from six around the Australian circuit, showing himself to be the man to beat this weekend.

In all, only three riders broke into the 1:31 bracket, with Ducati duo Checa and Guintoli joined by Laverty after an accomplished effort 20 minutes into the session.

Save for Checa, it was a close session for those behind, with second to eighth covered by less than three-tenths of a second.

A late improvement pushed Max Biaggi up to fourth position, ahead of Jakub Smrz, while Haslam has seemingly discovered a useable set-up on the BMW S1000RR.

Michel Fabrizio was seventh on the sole Alstare Suzuki – despite a crash at turn two in the closing stages — while FP1 standouts Joan Lascorz and Rea were eighth and ninth.

Flying the flag for Australia on home soil, former domestic Superbike champion Josh Waters crept into the top 10 aboard the wildcard Yoshimura Suzuki, placing ahead of countryman Troy Corser in 11th position.

Behind them, Marco Melandri languished in the lower reaches of the top twenty for much of the session after falling early on, though he would later progress to 12th.

With the decision to cull four riders from automatic Superpole qualification for 2011, greater emphasis will be placed on Q2 on Saturday when only the top 16 will get the chance to progress.

As such, Noriyuki Haga, Toseland and Camier – the Japanese 14th ahead of the two Britons — will have some nervous words with their engineers, likewise Ruben Xaus who was down in 19th…

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