Jonathan Rea may have stolen the limelight on day one of the 2012 World Superbike season-opener at Phillip Island, but former champion Max Biaggi and reigning champion Carlos Checa are still considered the men to beat for race pace.

And Aprilia star Biaggi feels it is Checa who still holds a clear advantage, despite finishing Friday qualifying less than 0.1sec behind the Ducati rider, as the former MotoGP team-mates recorded the fourth and fifth fastest laps.

"We did some good work today," said Biaggi, "taking a lot of laps and trying to solve the problems on various parts of the track. Our race pace is good, even if there is still some work to do to catch Checa.

"Tomorrow we'll focus on performance in the fast lap, trying to take the best advantage of the tyres in that situation so that we can line up on the grid Sunday with our papers in order to battle with the best".

Biaggi's injured team-mate Eugene Laverty suffered another fall early in qualifying and only completed three laps (see separate story).

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