Carlos Checa has come away from the opening day of World Superbike testing around Phillip Island with the fastest time as Ducati continued to edge further up the timesheets.

With Honda and Suzuki dominating proceedings during last month's Portimao test, it was the turn of the vee-twin to take charge around the Australian circuit, with five of the six Ducati entrants reaching the top ten.

Even so, it wasn't the factory Xerox team that had most to celebrate after Checa lifted his privately-entered Althea prepared machine to the fore.

With a best of 1min 31.959secs, the Spaniard set the fastest time of the day, putting four tenths of air between himself and factory-backed counterpart Michel Fabrizio, while he was also within a second of the overall lap record.

He was supported up front by team-mate Shane Byrne, who was fourth quickest, the former British Superbike Champion being sandwiched by the Ten Kate Hondas of Jonathan Rea and Max Neukirchner in third and fifth respectively.

Despite the presence of Ducatis, which also included Noriyuki Haga in seventh and Jakub Smrz in eighth, five of the seven manufacturers were present inside the top ten, with Max Biaggi adding Aprilia to the mix in sixth, morning pace setter Leon Haslam in ninth for Suzuki and James Toseland tenth aboard the Yamaha.

Elsewhere, Kawasaki enjoyed a marked improvement between sessions as Tom Sykes lifted the ZX-10R to 11th, marginally ahead of the best BMW runner, Troy Corser.

Meanwhile, Cal Crutchlow and Leon Camier were 14th and 20th fastest respectively as just two seconds covered the top twenty positions.