Carlos Checa began his 2010 WSB campaign in the best possible way by setting the fastest time in the opening qualifying session at Phillip Island.
The Spanish rider posted a 1m 32.155s best to deny factory Xerox Ducati rider Michel Fabrizio by 7/1000ths of a second.
Checa set his impressive time mid way through the session but suffered a fast crash onboard his Althea Ducati in the closing minutes of the session.
He said: “The Ducati works very well here at Phillip Island and my pace at the moment is very good, but I do not know yet if it will be good enough for the race.
"I know what I am capable of and now I have to prove my pace again tomorrow. It would be happy if the temperature was the same for the races that it has been today.”
Leon Haslam was the first four cylinder bike on the timesheets in third place onboard his Alstare Suzuki.
Haslam finished ahead of Shane Byrne who suffered a big high side in the final turn and ended his session in the circuit medical centre. Byrne was later released and joined a long list of fallers during the opening day of action.
Noriyuki Haga was satisfied with his days performance onboard his Xerox Ducati and appears as calm and relaxed as ever as he starts his bid for his elusive first WSB title. He said:
“I’ve been working on my race tyre today. The smaller tyre will not last and the bigger tyre does not have such good grip in the turns and on the brakes. After seeing how many crashes there were today my aim is not to crash all season!”
Jonathan Rea claimed seventh spot onboard his Ten Kate Honda but is struggling to match the pace of the leaders and is loosing time in each split around the lap.
Cal Crutchlow finished the opening day in 10th place but upbeat having improved his Yamaha R1 drastically following last weeks disastrous test.
He said: “We never pushed for a lap so I actually think our race times are good enough to be in the top six. The bike is not perfect, but it’s better and we’re not having the chatter issues we had at the test.”
Yamaha team-mate James Toseland was also satisfied with improvements made to his bike since the test, but suffered a big high side in the final turn. The double WSB champion quickly got to his feet but was clutching his left wrist.
He did get back on track to post his fastest time of the session but when he returned to the pit went to the medical centre for a check-up.
Initial diagnosis is that he has no serious injury, but he has work to do tomorrow as he is currently down in 13th place.
Leon Camier had a solid opening day to claim 11th place 1.14 seconds behind pole man Checa with Tom Sykes in 15th place ahead of local man Troy Corser on the factory BMW.
Ruben Xaus had a day to forget after crashing three times in just 10 laps including his out laps.
1 7 C. CHECA ESP Althea Racing Ducati 1098R 1'32.155
2 84 M. FABRIZIO ITA Ducati Xerox Team Ducati 1098R 1'32.162
3 91 L. HASLAM GBR Team Suzuki Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.373
4 67 S. BYRNE GBR Althea Racing Ducati 1098R 1'32.635
5 41 N. HAGA JPN Ducati Xerox Team Ducati 1098R 1'32.703
6 3 M. BIAGGI ITA Aprilia Alitalia Racing Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1'32.850
7 65 J. REA GBR HANNspree Ten Kate Honda Honda CBR1000RR 1'32.884
8 50 S. GUINTOLI FRA Team Suzuki Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.902
9 96 J. SMRZ CZE Team PATA B&G Racing Ducati 1098R 1'32.905
10 35 C. CRUTCHLOW GBR Yamaha Sterilgarda Team Yamaha YZF R1 1'33.038
11 2 L. CAMIER GBR Aprilia Alitalia Racing Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1'33.296
12 77 C. VERMEULEN AUS Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'33.389
13 52 J. TOSELAND GBR Yamaha Sterilgarda Team Yamaha YZF R1 1'33.422
14 57 L. LANZI ITA DFX Corse Ducati 1098R 1'33.454
15 66 T. SYKES GBR Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'33.492
16 11 T. CORSER AUS BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 1'33.512
17 88 A. PITT AUS Team Reitwagen BMW BMW S1000 RR 1'33.940
18 76 M. NEUKIRCHNER GER HANNspree Ten Kate Honda Honda CBR1000RR 1'33.960
19 111 R. XAUS ESP BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 1'33.984
20 123 R. RESCH AUT Team Reitwagen BMW BMW S1000 RR 1'34.065
21 31 V. IANNUZZO ITA S.C.I. Honda Garvie Image Honda CBR1000RR 1'34.417
22 25 J. BROOKES AUS ECHO CRS Honda Honda CBR1000RR 1'34.663
23 15 M. BAIOCCO ITA Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'35.892
24 95 R. HAYDEN USA Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'36.113