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Friday feeling again for Checa and Althea

Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano make it an Althea Ducati 1-2 in first qualifying at the Nurburgring, ahead of Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty; Biaggi in 6th and Melandri 12th after crash.
CLICK HERE to view the full Q1 times

Althea Ducati duo Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano have earmarked themselves as the early front runners at the Nurburgring after completing first qualifying in a 1-2 familiar formation.

Just as they did last time out at the Moscow Raceway, Althea Ducati emerged as the team to beat around the German circuit after the first day of competition, though it was reigning champion Checa that would get the better of his younger team-mate on this occasion.

Leaving it late to pump in his best of 1min 55.307secs, Checa was a comfortable four tenths clear of Giugliano, who nonetheless completed a successful day in second place having been fastest in FP1 earlier on.

Tom Sykes held down the top spot for much of the session, his early effort of 1min 55.968secs holding firm at the top until six minutes remaining. In the end the Kawasaki rider would take a further tenth off his time, which proved just as well since just 0.090secs would cover third to seventh.

Having fallen form his Aprilia in FP1, Eugene Laverty bounced back to go fourth best, ahead of Leon Haslam and Max Biaggi, the title contender getting the satisfaction being well ahead of Marco Melandri after the BMW rider suffered a set-back with a rare tumble.

Coming early on in the session, Melandri slid off his bike at the tight turn one hairpin, the Italian forced to sit out the first 15mins as repairs were made. Once back on the circuit, he could only get as high as 12th place.

Behind Biaggi, British trio Jonathan Rea, Leon Camier and Chaz Davies followed up in seventh, eighth and ninth, while Lorenzo Zanetti had the distinction of out-pacing PATA Ducati team-mate Sylvain Guintoli in tenth.

Behind Melandri, Loris Baz, Ayrton Badovini, Michel Fabrizio and Niccolo Canepa hold down provisional Superpole spots, but will be under pressure once Q2 gets underway tomorrow.

As it stands, David Salom and John Hopkins sit on the bubble, but are just a tenth from Canepa in 16th, while Effenbert Liberty Ducati – who have dropped lead competitor Jakub Smrz for this event - could see all three of its riders miss out on the Superpole cut with Maxime Berger, Lorenzo Lanzi and Brett McCormick currently out of contention in 18th, 21st and 22nd respectively.

Joining them in the danger zone is Hiroshi Aoyama, Alexander Lundh and series returnee Norino Brignola.




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