Jakub Smrz believes he is beginning to overcome his reputation as a mere one-lap specialist as he increasingly marks himself out as a World Superbike Championship front runner.
Smrz has enjoyed a significant breakthrough in 2009, recording his maiden podium finish at Assen, while he caused a surprise at Misano by becoming the first man other than Ben Spies to claim a pole position this season.
Indeed, qualifying has been a Smrz strength this year, the Czech rider starting inside the top six in all but two races this season, an achievement made all the more impressive by his Guandalini Ducati team's privateer status.
However, having arrived at Donington Park on the back of his best combined result of two fourth place finishes at Misano, Smrz thinks he has proven now that he can sustain his pace over a longer distance.
“This year has been difficult because the lap times have been so much faster,” he told Crash.net Radio
. “Every track is one or two seconds faster than last year.
“I don't like people saying I am quick just in qualifying, but it has changed a lot this year and I can say I am fast in the races. I am not at my maximum yet though. I am not crashing and I'm concentrating on getting as many points as possible, because every point counts.
“At Misano I was a little bit sad about the fourth positions because it wasn't on the podium, but for me it was important to score many points. I am happy with the consistency I got.”
Regarding his performance over a single lap, Smrz admits he doesn't know why he is proving a match for his factory rivals other than the fact he feels 'motivated' for Superpole.
“It's a good question, but I have no idea why I am quick over a single lap,” he added. “I feel quite motivated for Superpole and I often have a good feeling with the bike, so I can go faster.”