Carlos Checa has taken his second consecutive World Superbike Championship pole position at Donington Park after fending off a challenge from home favourite Leon Haslam.

Fresh from setting the fastest lap time of the weekend in FP2, Checa looked comfortably fastest in SP1, SP2 and SP3, eventually emerging with a three tenth margin over Haslam.

Well positioned to build on his early series lead following the double win in Australia, he will be joined on a front row comprising himself, Haslam, Tom Sykes and Jakub Smrz.

Building on his impressive showing at Phillip Island, Haslam gave BMW one of its best qualifying performances in World Superbikes with a run to second position, the 2010 runner-rewarding the British fans who ventured out on what has been a bitterly cold day.

There was also joy for Sykes, who defied the conditions to set his best lap on the harder race tyre, the Englishman showing the progress made with the ZX-10R with a front row start in only its second race. Smrz, meanwhile, made it two Ducatis at the front on his Effenbert-Liberty machine.

Behind them, Noriyuki Haga leads a trio of Aprilias, the Japanese rider having the mild satisfaction of out-qualifying Max Biaggi and Leon Camier.

However, the PATA Racing rider may have something to say about Biaggi's on-track antics after the Italian baulked his rival through the hairpin whilst on an out-lap. Spoiling Haga's lap - which would have been good enough for the front row -, it was the second occurrence in just a few minutes by Biaggi after he got in the way of Marco Melandri during SP2.

Prompting some fist-waving between the countrymen, Melandri signalled his displeasure by planting a racy block-pass later in the lap. The conflict would eventually see Melandri denied a shot at pole position, with Leon Camier sneaking ahead towards the end of SP2 and demoting the Yamaha man down to ninth.

Camier starts in seventh, a spot behind Biaggi, while Jonathan Rea is eighth on the grid, the Northern Irishman making it four British riders on the front two rows.

Beyond Melandri's woes, his Yamaha team-mate Eugene Laverty had an even tougher session, the Irishman sliding off his R1 through the Craner Curves in SP1. Though he hasn't been the first to fall at the downhill bend today, Laverty's was easily the most spectacular as his bike got air and proceeded to flip across the grass. Though an unhurt Laverty got back on track, he couldn't do enough to proceed past 13th.

Just ahead, Troy Corser rounds of the top ten in tenth, ahead of Michel Fabrizio and Joan Lascorz, while Sylvain Guintoli, Maxime Berger and Ruben Xaus were eliminated with Laverty in SP1.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment