Checa heads Q1 but Guintoli and Laverty impress

Ducati may not have a factory team in World Superbikes in 2011 but that did not stop the Italian factory from leading the way in opening qualifying at Philip Island.

Carlos Checa continued to set the pace but surprisingly it was Sylvain Guintoli who was his nearest competitor. The Frenchman was consistently Checa’s primary rival and it was only a late lap on the Spaniard’s final run of the day that finally put significant daylight between their times.

Eugene Laverty continued to impress aboard his Yamaha. The Irish rookie had a solid start to practice with the tenth fastest time but when qualifying started his showed his true potential with the third fastest time. Laverty was consistent throughout and his race pace should be impressive. Laverty ended the session just ahead of Max Biaggi.

The Italian had good speed throughout the day but failed to maximise his Aprilia during his fastest lap and had to settle for fourth. Jakob Smrz, riding another Ducati, was a superb fifth ahead of Leon Haslam and Michele Fabrizio. Fabrizio crashed towards the end of the session but walked away unscathed.

Marco Melandri also ended his day in the gravel with the Yamaha rookie ending his day in 12th position.

For full qualifying results click here

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