World Superbike Championship title contender Max Biaggi has received a set-back in his quest to get back on terms with arch rival Carlos Checa at Assen after he was confirmed as starting 17th on the grid for the two races.

The Italian was caught out by the onset of rain during the initial stages of Q1, leaving him in 17th position overnight and knowing that he would remain there if conditions didn't improve for Q2.

Biaggi's worst fears were realised when heavy rain prevented any rider from getting close to their initial times, ensuring Q1 would determine the sixteen going through to Superpole this afternoon.

As such, the Aprilia rider will start 17th for the two races, Biaggi being joined on the Superpole sidelines by countrymen Niccolo Canepa and Davide Giugiano, plus Leandro Mercado, Hiroshi Aoyama, Mark Aitchison and Lorenzo Zanetti, the sextet starting in positions 18th through to 23rd.

Despite the poor conditions, with rain forecast for the remainder of the weekend, most riders used Q2 as an opportunity to get some wet mileage, with Jakub Smrz topping the session itself, albeit almost twenty seconds off team-mate Sylvain Guintoli's Q1 pace.

Leon Haslam, Tom Sykes, Niccolo Canepa and Jonathan Rea completed the top five positions, the latter one of five riders to suffer a fall in the tricky conditions.


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