Althea Ducati were left with mixed emotions following qualifying for the opening round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship as Carlos Checa delivered on his front runner status, but Shane Byrne dropped down the order.

Having sat at the top of the leaderboard following provisional qualifying, Checa attempted to replicate that form during Superpole, but while he comfortably eased through into the shootout, he couldn't match pole sitter Leon Haslam.

Nonetheless, the Spaniard will start from the front row in fourth position, a first for the Italian team ahead of its first season as a satellite Ducati operation.

"I'm happy with today's qualifying sessions and with my Superpole, because we fought for the pole position since the last few minutes of the last Superpole session," he said. "Like the last test in Portimao, today as well I was not able to take advantage from the qualifying tyres.

"Anyway I'm satisfied because we are close to the fastest riders, and because today I also found a fast rhythm rather quickly. Tomorrow I'll start from the first row and this is an important result for me and for my team, I want to thank all of them for the great job they're doing."

On the other side of the garage, there was disappointment for Byrne, who admitted he is struggling to find his rhythm after crashing heavily during provisional qualifying yesterday.

"Obviously I'm really very disappointed," said Byrne, who will start 18th. "I had a big crash yesterday and today it seems difficult for me to find the rhythm of my previous test. In Superpole we used qualifying tires to try to get through, but something was wrong because the tyres have less grip than the usual race tyre.

"I know tomorrow's races will be very difficult for me. I'll be starting from the fifth row and it won't be easy, but I'll try to do my best and I hope to reach good results."


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