Jonathan Rea was able to master the tricky conditions to come away from the first day of action, for the eleventh round of the World Superbike Championship at the Nurburgring, clutching provisional pole position.

Having come into the weekend determined to challenge for race honours again, Misano winner Rea started his endeavour well by getting to grips with the weather and emerging half a second quicker than his nearest competitor.

Although the lap times were able to tumble from free practice, the riders still had the troublesome task of dealing with the slippery surface, with Broc Parkes, Tom Sykes, Karl Muggeridge and Shane Byrne all suffering falls during the session.

Nonetheless, Sykes was able to stay upright long enough to provide the Ten Kate Honda rider with his sternest challenge, the British rider a comfortable second and well up on Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies, who was more than two seconds slower.

At one stage the leader board was threatening to finish with a British 1-2-3-4, only for Troy Corser, Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga to slip in between Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam, the pair still locked together in sixth and seventh.

Marking a good session for BMW, who are out to impress on home ground this weekend, Corser's third would indicate their form at Brno was no one-off. Furthermore, Ruben Xaus' substitute, the comparatively inexperienced Richard Cooper, was doing another excellent job in 11th position, ahead of the likes of Carlos Checa, Spies and Max Biaggi.

Elsewhere in the top ten, Jakub Smrz emerged in eighth place, ahead of Ryuichi Kiyonari, while Luca Scassa was once again the leading Kawasaki representative, the Italian impressing with the tenth quickest time.

As mentioned, Spies continued to feature away from the leading positions in 13th place. The American languished outside the provisional Superpole positions until late on when a last gasp effort moved him into a solid, if not entirely comfortable, spot.

Brno winners Aprilia were also having a difficult time, with Biaggi and Shinya Nakano in 14th and 19th, while Suzuki pair Karl Muggeridge and Yukio Kagayama - who were top ten in practice - could only manage the 15th and 17th best times.

Although there is definite scope for change should the weather improve for second qualification, the riders currently out of Superpole contention are John Hopkins, David Checa, Vittorio Iannuzzo, Fonsi Nieto, David Salom, Broc Parkes and Roland Resch.


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