Carlos Checa wasn’t in the greatest form following his crash during Q1 - that he defined ‘one of the biggest highsides of my career,’ but that didn’t stop the Alstare rider from taking the first Superpole of the 2013 World Superbike championship, with the Ducati 1199 Panigale and sweeping away any doubts on the competitiveness of the new Italian machine.
With a stunning 1’30″234, Checa’s lap is the new Superpole record for the Austrialian circuit after Michel Fabrizio broke it in QP2, and he’ll try to take the Panigale to its first victory and repeat what Neil Hodgson and Troy Bayliss did when they debuted two new bikes for Borgo Panigale.
Next to Checa on the first row will be Eugene Laverty who brought the factory Aprilia into second and just 0.195s from the the Spaniard, while Michele Fabrizio who dominated three sessions out of four (Marco Melandri was fastest in FP2) put his Aprilia into third making it an all Italian manufacturers front row.
Opening the second row will be Tom Sykes who is still suffering from a wrist injury and Marco Melandri who hit his already suffering shoulder when he crashed in FP2. The two riders posted the same identical lap time and both sat out the dying minutes of the session, probably ruing the fact, as Checa, Laverty and Fabrizio would post better lap times. Joining the Kawasaki and BMW rider will be Sylvain Guintoli who finished SP3 in sixth.
The third row will see Suzuki’s Leon Camier and Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea, while Davide Giugliano was 10th, suffering a last turn wobble due to a blistering tire and after Leon Haslam denied the Italian entry into SP3 with his last flying lap in SP2.
Loris Baz will take off from 11th followed by Chaz Davies, Max Neukirchner, and Ivan Clementi. Australian wildcard Jamie Stauffer threw it all away when he crashed on his first lap in SP1 leaving him in 15th and ahead of other wildcard rider Glenn Allerton.
Jules Cluzel will be starting in 17th after suffering an engine failure in the morning session. Ayrton Badovini will not be racing this weekend after being diagnosed with a foot fracture-
WSBK Phillip Island Superpole and starting grid:
1. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati Panigale 1199 1′30.234
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1′30.429
3. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1′30.581
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1′30.615
5. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1′30.615
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1′30.683
7. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1′30.991
8. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1′30.998
9. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1′31.742
10. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1′31.283
11. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1′31.576
12. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1′31.870
13. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati Panigale 1199 1′32.010
14. Jamie Stauffer (Team Honda Racing) Honda CBR1000RR 1′32.353
15. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 1′32.773
16. Glen Allerton (Next Gen Motorsports) BMW S1000 RR 1′32.352
17. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1′32.402
18. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1′32.487
19. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati Panigale 1199 1′32.540
20. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1′32.898
21. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1′33.082