Carlos Checa got his World Superbike weekend at Misano off to a commanding start by dominating first free practice around the Italian circuit.

The Spaniard, who declared pre-event that he expects to go well at Misano, was quick from the off as he opened up with a best lap of 1min 39.960secs within the first ten minutes of the session - a time that would have been good enough for second place on the timesheets already.

Despite a technical issue on the Althea Ducati delaying him mid-session, Checa lowered his best lap to 1min 36.886 25 minutes into the session before going on to secure his position with a 1min 36.458secs.

Even so, while Checa was never headed during the hour, he was still only a hundredth ahead of local favourite Max Biaggi, the Italian closing on his title rival in the final minutes.

With no other rider breaking 1min 37secs, 2010 pole sitter Troy Corser was third fastest, six tenths down on the leaders, while Leon Haslam ensured BMW got their weekend off to a good start by shadowing his team-mate in fourth.

Leon Camier was fifth fastest, ahead of the impressive Ayrton Badovini, the BMW Italia rider shrugging off a fall early on to haul himself into the top six in the final seconds.

Michel Fabrizio followed aboard the sole Suzuki in seventh, ahead of Effenbert-Liberty Ducati pair Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz, while Marco Melandri made it four Italians inside the top ten with the tenth best lap for Yamaha.

Further back, Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty got their Misano campaigns off to a low-key start in 12th, 13th and 17th respectively, though lap times remain close in the mid-field.

Chris Vermeulen completed a full 23 laps as he embarks on what he hopes will be a full return to WSBK competition this weekend, while BMW Italia's new recruit, Lorenzo Lanzi, was a solid 22nd - 2.6secs off the front - on his first run aboard the S1000RR.

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