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Misano WSBK: Rea chases Checa in first qualifying

Honda's Jonathan Rea ran World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa very close in this afternoon's first qualifying session at Misano, briefly snatching top spot with ten minutes to go only for the Spaniard to go faster on his very next lap.

Rea put in a 1'36.568 but Checa just beat it, lapping at 1'36.521 in a session that was only fractionally faster at the sharp end but the top seven riders are now under the 1'37s barrier where it was only Checa and Melandri able to carry that pace this morning.

The BMW man couldn't match his pace from free practice and ended the session in fourth behind Max Biaggi who managed a 1'36.703 compared to his compatriot's 1'36.795. Checa's team-mate Davide Guigliano was in fourth until minutes from the end but he was bumped to fifth by Melandri's lap. He is only three-tenths down, however.


Liberty Ducati's Sylvain Guintoli was hovering around the top three for most of the 45 minutes but eventually slid to sixth while Loriz Baz, who is riding Joan Lascorz's Kawasaki ZX-10R for the rest of the year, found his feet and lapped at 1'36.957 which was enough to keep him ahead of Leon Haslam's BMW.

Jakub Smrz looked threatening at half-time but ended in ninth place, just ahead of Tom Sykes on the sister works Kawasaki. He is one place ahead of Leon Camier's Suzuki but the pair are only three-quarters of a second off the pace. Eugene Laverty was 13th on a 1'37.340, half a second quicker than this morning while Chaz Davies picked himself off the floor but was only able to managed 21st place.

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