Team Pata B&G Racing's Jakub Smrz usually goes fast in practice and qualifying and he did it again today at the slightly altered Circuit van Drenthe in Assen, Holland, the Czech putting his Ducati on provisional pole position for Sunday's two World Superbike races by posting a best lap of 1:36.041.Smrz edged Hannspree Ten Kate Honda's Jonathan Rea, this morning's free practice leader, by .298 of a second. Rea, in turn, was .150 of a second faster than BMW's Troy Corser with the Aussie moving up late in the session to nab third. The session was interrupted late by a red flag.Championship leader Leon Haslam was fourth fastest on the Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000, the Brit holding off Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow. Crutchlow suffered a crash late in the session that prevented any late move up the timesheets.Carlos Checa rode the first of the Althea Ducati's to the sixth fastest time, the Spaniard the final rider to circulate in the 1:36s with his 1:36.805. Aprilia's Leon Camier was next with his 1:37.064 - just a tick over a second off Smrz's best lap.Checa's teammate Shane Byrne was next in eighth, the Brit ahead of factory Ducati man Michel Fabrizio. Then came Yamaha's James Toseland in 10th.Xerox Ducati's Noriyuki Haga ended the session in 14th. American Roger Lee Hayden completed his first day in Assen in 21st, 3.6 seconds off the fast time set by Smrz.Aprilia's Max Biaggi, the man who is second behind Haslam in the series standings, ended day one in 16th. Kawasaki's Chris Vermeulen ended up 20th in his first day back on the bike after suffering injury in the opening round in Australia.As is becoming the norm, all six factories had bikes in the top 10 with the top five all on different makes of motorcycles.

Friday Qualifying

1.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:36.041

2.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:36.339

3.                  Troy Corser ( BMW) 1:36.489

4.                  Leon Haslam (Suzuki) 1:36.618

5.                  Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:36.752

6.                  Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:36.805

7.                  Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1:37.064

8.                  Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1:37.081

9.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:37.165

10.                  James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:37.16621. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki) 1:39.697

World Superbike Headlines

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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