Czech Jakub Smrz started his weekend off on a high note this morning as he led the opening practice session for his home round of the World Superbike Championship at Brno, but Carlos Checa took some of the luster off Smrz’ day by beating him for provisional pole position this afternoon.Smrz, who led the morning session with a 2:00.2 lap on the Effenbert Liberty Ducati, slipped to second in the qualifying session. Although Smrz improved to a 1:59.585, he couldn’t match the 1:59.322 thrown down by Althea Racing Ducati’s Checa.Five riders slid into the 1:59 bracket with Yamaha’s Marco Melandri ending the day third fastest with his teammate Eugene Laverty filling the provisional front row. Those two lapped at 1:59.653 and 1:59.906, respectively.
The last of the riders in the 1:59s was World Champion Max Biaggi, the Aprilia rider ending up with a best of 1:59.940.For Checa it was business as usual as he will try for his fifth pole position in tomorrow’s Superpole qualifying for round eight of the championship.Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes continued to show the ZX-10R’s improvement as he put the new bike sixth today, besting the factory BMW of Leon Haslam and the Alstare Suzuki of Michel Fabrizio. Smrz’s teammate Sylvain Guintoli and BMW Italia’s Ayrton Badovini rounded out the top 10 in today’s session.James Toseland rode in this morning’s session, but then called it quits. The Brit, who has missed the last two rounds with a broken wrist, was hoping to make his return at Brno. Now he hopes to be fit for his home race at Silverstone on July 31. Italian Lorenzo Lanzi will again take his place.Friday Qualifying
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:59.322
2. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:59.585
3. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:59.653
4. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:59.906
5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:59.940
6. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 2:00.154
7. Leon Haslam (BMW) 2:00.164
8. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 2:00.196
9. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 2:00.310
10. Ayron Badovini (BMW) 2:00.348.