Carlos Checa heads into the first World Superbike Championship round to be held in Russia as the early rider to beat after ending the official group test at the Moscow Raceway atop both the morning and afternoon sessions.

The Spaniard set a best of 1min 37.189secs in the AM session but followed it up with a 1min 35.891secs lap in the afternoon to keep Leon Haslam at bay once more by almost two tenths of a second.

With each rider improving their lap times during the PM session, Tom Sykes and Marco Melandri progressed to third and fourth place respectively, while Aprilia ended their day on a high in fifth, sixth and eighth in the order of Max Biaggi, privateer Chaz Davies and Eugene Laverty.

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Despite missing most of the morning session after a respective crash and an exclusion for a track infringement, Ducati riders Niccolo Canepa and Sylvain Guintoli shrugged off their relative lack of laps to set the ninth and tenth best times.

Having shown well in the morning with both of its riders inside the top five, Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama dropped back in the afternoon, the former slipping from fifth to 12th, while the latter plummeted from third to 18th after improving his lap time by only a tenth of a second.

Elsewhere, Leon Camier fronted the Suzuki charge in 13th place, while newcomer David McFadden got the better of fellow Pedercini rookie Alexander Lundh in 20th and 21st respectively.