Carlos Checa has reasserted his authority over the World Superbike championship by taking provisional pole during Friday's first session of qualifying at Silverstone. The Althea Ducati rider was fast throughout the session, leading for much of practice and upping the pace in the final minutes. The Ducatis are strong at Silverstone, though: Supersonic's Maxime Berger sits in 2nd place, just ahead of the Kawasaki of Tom Sykes and the Alitalia Aprilia of Leon Camier. This morning's fastest man John Hopkins heads up the provisional second row on the Samsung Crescent Suzuki, just a few hundredths faster than Michel Fabrizio on the Alstare Suzuki.
Championship challengers Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri were once again suffering, though Biaggi had a much stronger afternoon session. The Alitalia Aprilia man ended the session in 9th position, but the Roman Emperor was just over half a second off Checa, and less than two-tenths of a second off Tom Sykes in 3rd. Melandri is struggling more, the Italian down in 14th, and well over 1.2 seconds slower than Checa. His factory Yamaha team have their work cut out for them tonight.