Strong start to Qatar weekend for Ten Kate trio

Ten Kate Honda enjoyed a return to prominence during provisional qualifying for the second World Superbike round of the season at Losail, Qatar, the team getting all three bikes inside the top five.

With Jonathan Rea proving Ben Spies' closest competition in second position, he was joined on the provisional front row by Carlos Checa in third, while Ryuichi Kiyonari was just behind in fifth position.

Moving on from the shoulder injury that blighted his progress in Australia, Checa made steady progress throughout the day, using the softer tyre to good effect in the latter stages of qualification to leap up from 12th to third.

“We worked with a harder tyre this morning and had to test both bikes to compare some new parts that we were trying out. We were expecting about a second out of the softer tyre and that came this afternoon. It gave a good feeling of consistency and the important thing is that we're on the pace here.

“Johnny and Ben Spies seem to have a little extra at the moment but we don't have the chatter here that we had at Phillip Island, so we'll push harder again tomorrow. The package is good and we have a couple of options for race tyres, which we'll test tomorrow.”

Having failed to score at Phillip Island, Kiyonari is on a mission in Qatar to restore himself as a race win contender, the Japanese rider getting his quest off to a good start by going considerably faster than he did at this stage last year.

“It was not so bad today, and I think I can say I like the track a little better. The track is very tough on the bike and the tyres and the rider, but the bike was perfect today for maintaining good lap times. So a lot depends on rider performance tomorrow! I have already gone a lot better than after the first day last year, but everyone else is faster, too!”

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