Brits Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam were right in the thick of the action in the first free practice session at the MCN-backed Donington WSB round this morning.
The timesheets were topped by Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri but Rea posted third quickest time on his Castrol Honda, his 1:30.18 just two tenths behind Checa’s fastest time of 1:29.98 on the Althea Ducati.
Haslam was fourth overall on the BMW Motorrad S1000RR with a lap time 0.588s behind Checa’s best. Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz was the surprise of the session in 5th place ahead of former Donington lap record holder Michel Fabrizio and world champion Max Biaggi.
Tom Sykes claimed the ninth fastest time with Eugene Laverty in 12th and Leon Camier 13th.
Australian Chris Vermeulen ended his first session in 19th place, but was still happy to at least be on track riding the new ZX-10R.
With the track currently being described as slippery by the riders, lap times are expected to tumble this afternoon when first qualifying gets underway at 15.30.
1. Carlos Checa Ducati (Althea Racing) 1'29.978 1098R
2. Marco Melandri Yamaha YZF (Yamaha World Superbike Team) 1'30.134 R1
3. Jonathan Rea Honda (Castrol Honda) 1'30.184 CBR1000RR
4. Leon Haslam BMW S1000 (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1'30.566 RR
5. Joan Lascorz Kawasaki (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1'30.687 ZX-10R
6. Michel Fabrizio Suzuki (Team Suzuki Alstare) 1'30.789 GSX-R1000
7. Max Biaggi Aprilia RSV4 (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) 1'30.797 Factory
8. Ayrton Badovini BMW (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) 1'30.827 S1000 RR
9. Tom Sykes Kawasaki (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) 1'30.842 ZX-10R
10. Jakub Smrz Ducati (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) 1'30.868 1098R
11. Troy Corser BMW S1000 (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1'30.970 RR
12. Eugene Laverty Yamaha (Yamaha World Superbike Team) 1'30.985 YZF R1
13. Leon Camier Aprilia (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) 1'31.022 RSV4 Factory
14. Ruben Xaus Honda (Castrol Honda) 1'31.112 CBR1000RR
15. Maxime Berge rDucati (Supersonic Racing Team) 1'31.337 1098R
16. Noriyuki Haga Aprilia RSV4 (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) 1'31.387 Factory
17. Sylvain Guintoli1'31.782 Ducati 1098R (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing)
18. Roberto Rolfo Kawasaki (Team Pedercini) 1'32.159 ZX-10R
19. Chris Vermeulen Kawasaki (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1'32.670 ZX-10R
20. Mark Aitchison Kawasaki (Team Pedercini) 1'33.295 ZX-10R