Max Biaggi showed some of his hand during the first qualifying session for the second World Superbike round at Donington Park as he edged out countryman and former MotoGP rival Marco Melandri.

The Italian took first charge of proceedings during the last ten minutes of the session with a 1min 29.101secs, but while Melandri undercut that with the first lap of the weekend to break 1min 29secs, Biaggi reacted with a session-topping 1min 28.794secs.

Carlos Checa looked on course to repeat his FP1 result at one stage, but would settle for third position on the Althea Ducati - the first time the Spaniard has been beaten in a dry timed session this season.

Eugene Laverty made vast improvements late on to claim the fourth fastest time, ahead of Jakub Smrz and Leon Haslam, who could have been faster but for a technical issue on his BMW to consign him to the sidelines mid-session.

His team-mate Troy Corser broke into the top ten with the seventh fastest time, as did Ruben Xaus and Leon Camier in eighth and tenth, the pair split by the top Kawasaki of Joan Lascorz.

Further back, Tom Sykes was a modest 13th on the second ZX-10R, ahead of Jonathan Rea in 16th, the Castrol Honda rider unusually off the pace having finished FP1 in third position earlier in the day.

It places him on the provisional bubble ahead of the Superpole-deciding Q2 session tomorrow morning, though he is ahead of Michel Fabrizio, who was left 17th after crashing his Suzuki during the latter stages.

He is joined in the 'danger zone' by the three Kawasakis of Roberto Rolfo, Mark Aitchison and Chris Vermeulen, the Australian getting another useful 16 laps under his belt.