Smrz quickest at Imola
Czech tops timesheets in Superbikes qualifying
Last Updated: 30/03/12 6:33pm
Jakub Smrz: Late fastest lap puts him on pole at Imola
Jakub Smrz grabbed provisional pole for the Superbike World Championship round at Imola on Friday.
The Kawasakis of Huddersfield rider Tom Sykes and his team-mate Joan Lascorz had looked set to lock out the first two positions at the Italian circuit, but they were pipped at the last by the Effenbert Liberty Ducati of Smrz.
The Czech rider posted a time of one minute 48.146 seconds to just squeeze under Lascorz's previous pacesetting mark of 1min 48.176secs,
With Lascorz second and Sykes third, championship leader Max Biaggi was left to complete the provisional front row on his Aprilia.
But it was a disappointing day for his principal title rival, as defending champion Carlos Checa could only hustle his Althea Ducati round to seventh-fastest, a major surprise given the Spaniard holds the lap record.
The two rivals were separated by two British riders as Honda's Jonathan Rea and BMW's Leon Haslam ended the session in fifth and sixth places respectively.
Smrz's team-mate Sylvain Guintoli was eighth while two more Brits, in the form of Aprilia's Eugene Laverty and Suzuki's Leon Camier, saw out the top 10, which was covered by less than half-a-second.
Marco Melandri could only manage 14th fastest on his BMW, while John Hopkins was 18th on his Crescent Suzuki as he returns from the hand injury that kept him out of the season opener in Philip Island.