Checa beats rivals, record on race tyres

Carlos Checa gave an example of why he is on course to win the 2011 World Superbike Championship by claiming an exceptional pole position at Imola on race tyres.

The Spaniard, a double winner at Imola last season, is in position to seal the 2011 crown in Italy this weekend, provided he can out-score Marco Melandri by a full 26 points.

Though it remains a tough ask at this stage, Checa nonetheless indicated his class once more in Superpole by smashing the lap record on the way to pole position. Notably, this was achieved despite reverting to the less favourable race-ready Pirelli tyres having used his qualifying rubber to reach SP3.

Still quick enough to edge out Jonathan Rea by a tenth of a second, Checa was delighted with his sixth pole position in 11 races, given the circumstances.

"I'm really happy with today's pole because it comes just at the right time," the Althea Ducati rider said. "I was having some problems with the first Q tyre and had to use the second, to then do the final stage without a qualifier. I gave it my all in the final phase and was able to make a very fast, very clean lap, but you always have that doubt at the end that maybe someone went faster in the final seconds!

"Rea was really strong today and I knew he'd be there on the front row. I'm looking forward to two really competitive races tomorrow."