Jakub Smrz (Liberty Effenbert Racing Team Ducati) took advantage of the sunny weather to top Saturday's second World Superbike qualifying session in advance of the Superpole contest later this afternoon at Donington Park, the first of two rounds of the championship in Great Britain.
The Czech rider had been fastest in Friday's first qualifying and upped the pace on Saturday morning. On his final lap of the 2.5-mile track in the British East Midlands, Smrz dropped his time by .6 sec. to finish with a fastest lap of 1:28.740 mins.
That pushed Monza winner and local favorite Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) to second at a gap of .137 sec. with reigning world champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) third in a typically packed order. From Smrz to 15th fastest Niccolo Canepa (Red Devils Roma Ducati) was covered by 1.006 sec.
BMW Motorrad's Leon Haslam was the second Brit in the order, qualifying fourth fastest and just .017 sec. in front of teammate Marco Melandri.
More Brits filled the top ten with Leon Camier sixth on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000, Jonathan Rea eighth on the Honda World Superbike Team CBR1000R and Chaz Davies ninth on the ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia RSV4 Factory.
In between came BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet's Michel Fabrizio, seventh, with Max Biaggi tenth fastest on the Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 Factory.
World Superbike Qualifying Results:
1. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:28.740
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:28.877
3. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:28.935
4. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:29.011
5. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1:29.028
6. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1:29.101
7. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1:29.280
8. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:29.305
9. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1:29.310
10. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:29.973