Cal Crutchlow has laid down an impressive benchmark for his World Supersport title rivals during opening free practice at Brno, the Yamaha rider finishing ahead by a mammoth 1.4secs.

Having set a record-breaking pace during testing around the Czech circuit two weeks ago, Crutchlow picked up where he left off, gradually improving his time to end the session with a best of 2mins 02.334secs.

Significantly, the lap would have placed him 15th overall in the opening World Superbike session, no mean feat around one of the longer circuits on the calendar.

Crutchlow led a Yamaha 1-2, with Fabien Foret proving a distant contender in second position, while Kenan Sofuoglu and Eugene Laverty - Crutchlow most realistic contenders for the title - were around 1.8secs adrift of the championship leader.

Despite missing the recent test at Imola, Kawasaki were well represented in fifth and seventh with Katsuaki Fujiwara and Joan Lascorz respectively, the pair being separated by Anthony West, the Australian dropping to sixth having run as high as second in the early stages of the session.

Donington Park podium sitter Garry McCoy began his weekend in eighth position, ahead of Honda duo Gianluca Vizziello and Miguel Praia.

Elsewhere, Sheridan Morais was an impressive 12th on his first outing on the Yamaha R6, while fellow newcomers Jason O'Halloran and Sam Lowes were 22nd and 27th.