Reigning World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa has grabbed top spot in the last free practice session at Imola ahead of this afternoon's Superpole, posting a 1'47.391 but he was chased hard by title rival Max Biaggi who found more than a second from his time in second qualifying to finish less than a tenth behind the Spaniard.
Biaggi looked to be in trouble this morning after only managing a 1'48.672 but the Roman Emperor has found a setting that suits, nipping into runner-up spot with ten minutes to go and demoting the conistently-fast Tom Sykes into third who managed a 1'47.759, fractionally slower than his time from this morning. Worryingly, Checa is only two-tenths outside his outright lap record with qualifying tyres to come in Superpole at 2pm (BST).
Effenbert Ducati's Sylvain Guintoli continued his form, taking fourth spot on a 1'47.859 while the second works Kawasaki of Joan Lascorz popped into fifth and was the last man in the 1'47s bracket. Honda's Jonathan Rea was sixth on a 1'48.049 which was slightly better than his second qualifying time.
Parkingo Aprilia's Chaz Davies has found something on the RSV4 that suits him upping his pace by the best part of eight-tenths of a second to go seventh fastest, overtaking the BMW of Leon Haslam and big mate Leon Camier who was ninth and a second slower than Checa.
Marco Melandri rounded out the top ten and then crashed unhurt at Tosa while Eugene Laverty was also a faller, again unhurt, slipping off at the Rivazza double-left hander. The Irishman ended 13th quickest and a second in arrears. John Hopkins has found improvements with his Fixi Suzuki, lapping at 1'49.028 but remains down the order in 18th.
Free practice two lap analysis
Carlos Checa is scarily consistent as well as fast. The Spaniard did eight laps in the 1'47s bracket from a total of 20 pitlane exits while second-placed man Max Biaggi only managed two from 18 exits with eight in the 1'48s.
Kawasaki's Tom Sykes put in six 1'47s laps with Sylvain Guintoli doing three and Joan Lascorz only lapping in the 1'48s. Jonathan Rea is consistently in the 1'48s as is Chaz Davies, Leon Haslam and Leon Camier.