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Checa stays fastest at Phillip Island
20 February 2012
Carlos Checa remains on course to head into the new World Superbike Championship season as the firm title favourite after he topped the first day of official testing at Phillip Island.
The reigning champion, who has won three of the last four WSBK races around the Australian circuit, has picked up where he left off since testing got underway last week, topping both the morning and afternoon sessions at the circuit.
Shrugging off the effects of the Althea Ducati's 6kg weight gain over the winter, though Checa's afternoon effort of 1min 32.038secs was down on the time he achieved in the morning, it was enough to see him secure the top spot by a tenth from Aprilia Racing's Max Biaggi.
Behind Biaggi, Marco Melandri claimed the third quickest time on the BMW, though it was a day of mixed emotions for the manufacturer after Leon Haslam injured his heel in an accident during the AM session. The Briton was forced to sit out the afternoon's action as he awaits further results.
Jonathan Rea gave the new Honda CBR1000RR a strong showing in fourth position, ahead of the day's surprise package Niccolo Canepa, the former MotoGP rider hoisting his Red Devils Roma Ducati to fifth in the second session of the day and eighth overall.
Kawasaki duo Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes followed up in sixth and seventh, while Effenbert-Liberty Ducati pair Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz remain locked together in eighth and ninth.
Continuing to get better acquainted with the Crescent Fixi Suzuki, Leon Camier finished a solid day's running in tenth place, ahead of Maxime Berger, Michel Fabrizio and WSBK newcomer Hiroshi Aoyama on the second of the factory-supported Hondas.
Elsewhere, Davide Giugliano was the only rider to suffer a crash during the session on the way to 15th fastest, ahead of Pedercini Kawasaki stand-in Bryan Staring, BMW Italia's Ayrton Badovini, ParkinGO MTC Aprilia's Chaz Davies, Pro Ride Honda's Raffaele de Rosa, Crescent Fixi Suzuki's Josh Brookes and Grillini BMW's Mark Aitchison.
As well as Haslam, David Salom – who fractured his hand in an accident during testing last week – did not participate in the second session of the day.
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