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Aragon WSBK: Melandri blitzes second qualifying

BMW's Marco Melandri put in a blistering final lap to top the second World Superbike timesheets at Motorland Aragon this morning, taking advantage of the cooler conditions to go the more than half a second faster than Tom Sykes and reigning champion Carlos Checa - breaking the lap record into the bargain.

The Italian put in by far and away the quickest time of the weekend so far, lapping at 1'57.491. Melandri has really got the last part of the Spanish track dialled in as he was only 0.004s ahead of Sykes through the last split but that was extended to 0.514 by the time he reached the line.

Sykes led right until the final minutes, mustering a 1'58.005. Checa couldn't get any rear grip from his Althea Ducati yesterday when track temperatures were at 60°C but in this early session, where the track is a relatively chilly 37°C, he is able to make them work and find the corner speed he needs to narrow a 10mph top-speed deficit on the BMWs and Aprilias.


Melandri's team-mate Leon Haslam found some pace with his final run of laps. The Derbyshire man, who said yesterday that tyre choice would be crucial on race day, was dangerously close to not making Superpole but banged in a 1'58.144 to take the last spot on a provisional front row.

A resurgent Eugene Laverty, second until the last flurry, occupies fifth position and is three-quarters of a second slower than Melandri but the pair are dead level on top speed at 203mph. His team-mate, Max Biaggi, is one place behind with Leon Camier, also down on outright speed, sits in seventh and just over a second off the pace.

Ayrton Badovini, Michel Fabrizio and Davide Guigliano round out the top ten with Jonathan Rea in 11th place. The Irishman is still getting to grips with the track but had a bike problem yesterday and missed a load of track time. Chaz Davies is 13th while John Hopkins had more bike woes and missed Superpole, finishing in 21st place.

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