Carlos Checa says he and Althea Racing have reason to be pleased with seventh place on the grid for the eighth World Superbike round at Motorland Aragon, though he is anticipating 'two difficult races'.

Having struggled for pace on the Friday, changes to the Ducati 1098R hauled Checa up the order when action resumed on Saturday, the reigning champion going third fastest in Q2 and topping the timesheets at the start of Superpole in SP1.

However, while he was able to take the bike into SP3, Checa would fall 1.7secs off the ultimate pace when it mattered, leaving him in seventh position on the grid.

Even so, while Checa was pleased with the result, he says the top speed difference between the two and four-cylinder machines could make it presence felt more in race conditions.

"I am still in a good mood. Today was hard, yes, but we've done a great job because, even though we haven't tested at all here we were still able to go faster than we did last year. We also made a good step up between yesterday and today.

"We're losing 20km/h on the straight, we know this, but I'd say that, all things considered, we didn't do too badly. This morning we were able to work a lot better, gaining both grip and stability in the corners. Now we'll see what tomorrow's conditions will be, if it's hot like this afternoon I foresee two difficult races