Chris Vermeulen finished today's opening qualifying session for Sunday's eleventh round World Superbike championship event at Imola, Italy in second place behind series leader Troy Corser. Vermeulen continued his recent methodical qualifying routine and opted to run for the hour-long session without a qualifying tyre.

His Winston Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Karl Muggeridge, ended the session in ninth place but remains confident of further improvement tomorrow in preparation for Sunday's two 21-lap races at the historic Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit in northern Italy.

Ronald ten Kate -- team manager:

"That was a pretty good start to the weekend and we just spent this afternoon constantly improving the bike after the wet free practice session this morning. We still have some things to try with different tyre options tomorrow, when we'll also maybe try a qualifier with Chris. Karl still has some set-up issues to resolve but, like at all the circuits this year, he's still adapting to the Honda CBR1000RR. We'll compare data and the different set-ups of the riders this evening and see what improvements we can make to continue in the direction we've found today."

Chris Vermeulen -- second fastest, 1m49.280s

"I'm still playing around with getting a lot more feeling from the front. Just in the last four races, I've found that it's really important. We only tried two rears and two fronts in that session but that feeling is definitely coming. I didn't feel that comfortable out there but the lap times were pretty quick -- the quickest I've ever been here. I think that shows just how much we've improved the bike recently and that there's a lot of potential still there. I'm also still familiarising myself with the circuit after the wet session this morning so definitely more to come tomorrow."

Karl Muggeridge -- ninth fastest, 1m50.537s

"I haven't got any real specific problems here, just learning my way round on the Superbike; and the fact that this morning's free practice was wet didn't help any. But we found a much better front tyre right at the end of this afternoon's session so we'll start on that tomorrow morning. We'll look at everything tonight and make some more changes but the important thing is to do some more laps. Everything's OK and it's going in the right direction so I'm pretty happy with the progress we've made today."