Carlos Checa maintained his relentless pressure on his WSB rivals by setting the pace yet again in the first qualifying session at Phillip Island.
The in-form Spaniard made his pace setting 1m 31.577s lap look effortless onboard his Althea Ducati and with similar race pace he remains the odds on favourite for victory on Sunday.
The only consolation for his rivals is that they are at least getting closer with Sylvan Guintoli, Eugene Laverty, Max Biaggi and Jacob Smrz all finishing within 0.5s of the provisional pole time.
Guintoli continued to show his strong affiliation with the Phillip Island circuit and shook off the effects of a heavy crash this morning to post the second fastest time onboard his Liberty Ducati.
Irishman Eugene Laverty continued to impress in third place with a 1m31.969 best.
Speaking to MCN, he said: “I’m pretty happy with that. I wanted to get into the 31’s because I’m confident that whatever happens that will be good enough to keep me in the top 16 and get me into Superpole tomorrow. This means I can concentrate on race set-up in the two sessions tomorrow.
“Going for a quick lap you really do ride differently and you use the tyre so much more. Instead of sitting the bike up to save the tyre you really get the power down when you’re lent over. It’s fun to ride like that but within two laps the tyre is destroyed.”
Leon Haslam pushed hard to secure sixth place with a battered Jonathan Rea in ninth, Tom Sykes 13th with James Toseland 15th and Leon Camier in 16th.
1 7 C. CHECA ESP Althea Racing Ducati 1098R 1'31.577
2 50 S. GUINTOLI FRA Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R 1'31.850
3 58 E. LAVERTY IRL Yamaha World Superbike Team Yamaha YZF R1 1'31.969
4 1 M. BIAGGI ITA Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'32.009
5 96 J. SMRZ CZE Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R 1'32.066
6 91 L. HASLAM GBR BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 1'32.082
7 84 M. FABRIZIO ITA Team Suzuki Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.108
8 17 J. LASCORZ ESP Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'32.163
9 4 J. REA GBR Castrol Honda Honda CBR1000RR 1'32.424
10 12 J. WATERS AUS Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.690
11 11 T. CORSER AUS BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 1'32.699
12 33 M. MELANDRI ITA Yamaha World Superbike Team Yamaha YZF R1 1'32.700
13 66 T. SYKES GBR Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'32.705
14 41 N. HAGA JPN PATA Racing Team Aprilia Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'33.058
15 52 J. TOSELAND GBR BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team BMW S1000 RR 1'33.074
16 2 L. CAMIER GBR Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'33.084
17 67 B. STARING AUS Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'33.130
18 121 M. BERGER FRA Supersonic Racing Team Ducati 1098R 1'33.176
19 111 R. XAUS ESP Castrol Honda Honda CBR1000RR 1'33.411
20 86 A. BADOVINI ITA BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team BMW S1000 RR 1'33.598
21 8 M. AITCHISON AUS Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'33.788
22 44 R. ROLFO ITA Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'33.864