The top 16 riders in Superpole were whittled down to a top eight and Checa proved to be the best of them after the three sessions had been completed, setting a new track best of 1 minute 34.193 seconds. It is his first pole win of the 2012 season but the ninth of his career.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has more poles than anyone else in 2012, seven, but had to settle for second best this time, with two fellow ex-British championship riders, Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) and Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) also on the front row.
Carlos Checa: “Finally Tom had some problems with the qualifiers because he has been very difficult to beat in Superpole. Here we found good pace and a good lap time with the soft tyres, we interpreted well the line in the slow area. The circuit is a really nice for me, slow and good fun to ride. But it’s really special to be in Moscow, racing here, it seems strange if you look back a long time ago. But things have changed now and it’s a pleasure to be part of that change!”
Tom Sykes: “It’s great to be on the front row. All week we’ve been quite consistent and then had to find something last night but we’ve been good today. In Superpole 1 we did a good time on the race tyre but had a couple of problems when we used the qualifier. Carlos has been looking good all weekend and totally deserved that one, I had no answer today.”
Eugene Laverty: “Definitely a big improvement from where we’ve been all weekend, from down in 17th on Friday. We learnt a few things in qualifying and progressed well with the bike. The last time was actually on set used qualifiers. It took a bit of time to get dialed in but we’re looking good for the races tomorrow.”
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) went fifth; Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) sixth. To make sure the championship battle remains tense, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) was seventh fastest and well in the leading rider mix. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) fell in Superpole three and thus starts eighth on the grid.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) could not overcome some issues with approach into the final corner and he had to settle for a third row starting position, having had two crashes in qualifying this weekend as well. Niccolo Canepa (Red Devils Roma) was a strong tenth on his privateer Ducati machine, while John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) was 11th and Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) went 12th.
After some top performances in practice and regular qualifying Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Aprilia) dropped to 13th on the grid after opting to save his qualifying tyres for Superpole 2 and 3, and he was unable to remain inside the top 12 riders.
Two 25 lap SBK races are schedule for Sunday 26th August, with close action expected at this impressive new venue in an exciting new country for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship to visit on the championship trail.
Times: 1. Checa (Ducati) 1'34.193 average 150.240 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'34.549; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'34.562; 4. Haslam (BMW) 1'35.170; 5. Melandri (BMW) 1'35.224; 6. Rea (Honda) 1'35.237; 7. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'35.253; 8. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'34.973; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'35.224; 10. Canepa (Ducati) 1'35.255; 11. Hopkins (Suzuki) 1'35.678; 12. Aoyama (Honda) 1'35.834; 13. Davies (Aprilia) 1'35.629; 14. Zanetti (Ducati) 1'35.678; 15. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'35.689; 16. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'35.798; etc.