Reigning world champion Carlos Checa claimed third position on the grid at Imola using race rubber on his Althea Ducati.

The Spaniard was unable to achieve the lap time he desired on qualifying tyres and with minutes to spare in Superpole 3, he switched to race rubber and sealed his place on the front row behind pole man Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki and Effenbert Liberty Ducati's Sylvain Guintoli.

Checa said: "I used race tyres for the first and second phases of the Superpole, turning to the qualifier only at the start of the final phase. I wasn't able to put together the lap I wanted and so, with minutes to spare, I went back out on a race tyre and made the third fastest time, though unfortunately it wasn't a clean lap.

"We're satisfied as it would have been difficult to beat Sykes here today - congratulations to him. I expect two exciting races tomorrow and would say the forecast is good is far as we're concerned."

Checa's team-mate, Davide Giugliano, will start from 12th position after crashing out in Superpole 2 while following Max Biaggi.

"I'm a bit disappointed of course because I thought I could have done a lot better this afternoon. Unfortunately in the first exit (of the second session) a technical problem caused me to run off track," he said.

"Then, with that resolved, I went back out on a qualifier and I was pushing hard to make the flying lap. Maybe I overdid it, because I crashed as I was following Biaggi.

"We'll start from the fourth row of tomorrow's grid so I'll need to make a great start and give it my all if I want to make up some places and put together two solid races."