Carlos Checa was happy to squeeze onto the front row of the grid for the latest round of the World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours despite enjoying limited running all weekend.

Having tested at the circuit last week, Checa made the most of his recent track knowledge to get up to speed quickly for final free practice, the first session of the weekend to be completely dry.

Moving on to Superpole, Checa was well placed to capitalise on a good grid position but while he wasn't quite able to hold onto the third he'd managed in the provisional session, he was satisfied to secure fourth on the grid around a circuit he hadn't even seen until last week.

"The bike and tyres are working well together but, of course, there will always be places where you can find a couple of tenths. Considering the weather that we have had during the weekend so far, I am happy with where we are and it's always good to be on the front row.

"If we had not tested here last week, I'm not so sure we would be in this position and we might have struggled a little more. I think we have a good set-up for the races so I hope for two good starts and two good results.

There were mixed fortunes for Ten Kate Honda's other riders as Kenan Sofuoglu benefited from the weather to remain in Superpole contention, although Martin Bauer was left stuck in an agonising 17th as damp conditions prevented him from showing any better.

Sofuoglu eventually ended up a solid 14th, the Turk pleased to have been making steady improvements over the course of the weekend.

"That was not so bad and I'm happy that the free practice we had before Superpole was dry. Finally we got the chance to try some things and make some improvements. Each lap I did this afternoon was faster than before, including the one in Superpole, so I am definitely making progress. With a good start in the races I can improve even more, so I hope to finish each one well."

Bauer, meanwhile, admits he was frustrated to just miss out on a Superpole chance, but is remaining focused on the races now.

"Unfortunately, the second qualifying session this morning was half-wet so I wasn't able to improve the time from yesterday and ended up missing Superpole by a tenth of a second. It's very frustrating because free practice was dry and I started to learn more about the bike and how to ride it.

"I'll try to get good starts tomorrow and make up some places to score some points for the team. They have been great to work with and I'm really enjoying the whole experience."



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