Checa straight on the pace in France.

Carlos Checa admits he was pleased to have tested at Magny-Cours prior to the latest round of the World Superbike Championship as wet weather went on to limit track time during free practice.

One of the few tracks on this year's World Superbike calendar that Checa has not ridden before, the arrival of rain around the Nevers circuit would have stunted his development of the Ten Kate Honda had they not been present in France last week.

As such, Checa was pleased to emerge with the third fastest time in provisional qualifying, even if he is hoping for drier weather tomorrow so he can continue making strides.

“We needed to test some different tyre options today, but there really wasn't enough time. The conditions are very different to the test we had here last week, but it was still important to set a good time today.

“It will allow us to work a little more calmly tomorrow, when we still have a lot to do. I'm very pleased we tested here because I knew the track and had some reference points, but tomorrow will hopefully be drier.”

With Ryuichi Kiyonari out with injury, Checa's job to fly the Ten Kate flag this weekend is all the more important. Nonetheless, both Kenan Sofuoglu and Kiyonari's replacement Martin Bauer were in provisional contention for Superpole, the former emerging 14th and the latter 17th.

“Although I missed the test last week because of the crash at Vallelunga, I was happy that today I felt physically good for riding again,” the Turk said. “The doctors have done a great job with my back. I was just sorry for the rain this morning and this afternoon because it didn't give us a chance to try anything. Hopefully, tomorrow will be dry and we can make some more progress.”

Bauer, meanwhile, proved impressive on his debut with the team, the Austrian pleased to be less than two seconds off the ultimate pace, despite having limited track time.

“You could say that the only thing I've learned so far is that the weather conditions here in France are pretty bad! But actually, I'm really happy with the progress we have been able to make, in spite of the weather.

“I'm trying to get used to the bike and adapting my riding style, so I guess I'm pretty happy that I'm only 1.8s off Haga's time today. There's lots to do tomorrow but lots of places for me to go faster, too.”

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