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Motorsport | Superbikes

Carlos Checa © Gallo Images

Checa clinches Australian Superpole

Carlos Checa begins his 2013 title campaign with a Superpole after coming from behind to beat his rivals at Phillip Island.

Having failed to reach the top three in the two earlier sessions, 40-year-old Checa put his experience to great use as one of the only riders to save a qualifying tyre for the final run for Superpole.

As such the Alstare Ducati rider had the impetus needed to snatch pole position away from Eugene Laverty and Michel Fabrizio.

As of this season just 15 riders contest Superpole as the grid for the World Superbike Championship has changed to only three riders per row instead of last year's four.

There are still three sessions in Superpole with the first lasting 14 minutes with the slowest three riders cut at the end. The rest go into the 12 minute Superpole 2 after which the slowest three will again be cut leaving just nine riders to contest the final and all-important Superpole 3.

Saturday's action at Phillip Island was the first time the new format came into play with Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes taking the honours in Superpole 1 with a 1:30.841. He edged BMW's Marco Melandri by 0.11s while Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty was third.

The three riders who missed the cut were Max Neukirchner, Australia's Jamie Stauffer who crashed his Honda CBR1000RR and Ivan Clementi.

Superpole 2 was won by Laverty with a 1:30.676 while Sykes was second and Melandri third, the duo both less than half a tenth adrift of Laverty's best.

Davide Giugliano, new Kawasaki signing Loris Baz and Chaz Davies, who did not run, dropped out at the end of the session.

The remaining nine went through to Superpole 3 with Melandri and Sykes holding down first and second places with three minutes to go. The duo had both clocked the exact same time, a 1:30.615 in the first run.

However,Checa, using a qualifying tyre, came flying through on his Ducati Panigale with a 1:30.234.

Laverty improved to second while Michel Fabrizio, who set the pace on Friday, jumped up into third place in his first race for Aprilia.

Sykes dropped to fourth and will start the second row of the grid ahead of Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli.


01 Checa Alstare Ducati 1:30.234
02 Laverty Aprilia Racing 1:30.429
03 Fabrizio Red Devils Roma 1:30.581
04 Sykes Kawasaki Racing 1:30.615
05 Melandri BMW GoldBet 1:30.615
06 Guintoli Aprilia Racing 1:30.683
07 Camier Fixi Crescent Suzuki 1:30.991
08 Haslam Pata Honda 1:30.998
09 Rea Pata Honda 1:31.742
10 Giugliano Althea Aprilia 1:31.283
11 Baz Kawasaki Racing 1:31.576
12 Davies BMW GoldBet 1:31.870
13 Neukirchner MR Ducati 1:32.010
14 Stauffer Honda Racing 1:32.353
15 Clementi HTM Racing 1:32.773


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