Ben Spies will start from his ninth World Superbike Championship pole position of the season at Brno after edging out Michel Fabrizio in a hotly contested qualifying session around the Czech circuit.

The American was the dominant force through the knockout phases before he went on to pump in a winning lap of 1min 58.868secs.

Although Fabrizio got to within a tenth of Spies with his best effort, it wasn't quite enough for him to become only the second person this season to deny the Yamaha rider the Saturday spoils.

Provisional pole sitter Max Biaggi maintained his good form to qualify third, while Jonathan Rea starts from the front row on the Ten Kate Honda, despite being almost a second adrift of the leaders.

As expected, the battle for pole position came down to Spies, Fabrizio and Biaggi, the trio having been consistently quickest throughout free practice. Nonetheless, it was title chaser Spies that was quickest from the outset, hitting the front with first effort during Q3 before watching as Fabrizio and Biaggi tried - and failed - to match it.

Although Spies even attempted to go quicker during the closing stages, he was comfortable enough to keep the Roman pair at bay.

Perhaps more importantly for Spies is the absence of Haga from the first few rows of the grid, the Japanese rider confirming the difficulties he is having with his injured shoulder and wrist by labouring to 14th on the grid.

Although it was a herculean effort from the championship leader in what has been a difficult weekend thus far, he will now have to start on row four of the grid.

Upholding Ducati Xerox honours up front, although he missed out on pole position, Fabrizio remains well poised in second position having performed well at Brno in recent years, with both Spies and Biaggi acknowledging him as the big threat come race day.

Provisional pole sitter Biaggi, meanwhile, was forced to settle for third position after not being quite able to continue the momentum he built up in earlier sessions. Nonetheless, it marks the Aprilia rider's second front row starting position in succession while he, like Fabrizio, has an envious record around the Czech circuit.

Things were somewhat closer in the battle for fourth place, which stretched down outside the top ten as a myriad of riders jostled for a spot inside the top eight shootout.

In the end, it was a successful day for the British contingent, with Jonathan Rea, Shane Byrne and Tom Sykes all making it through to the final stages. Of the trio, Rea rose to snare the final front row spot, even if he wasn't ever in contention for pole position.

Still, it was enough to deny Shane Byrne a second successive front row start, the Sterilgarda Ducati rider nonetheless ending up an otherwise strong fifth quickest.

Joining him on the second row will be Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus, who produced their most convincing display of the season in sixth and seventh respectively, to mark the first time BMW has ever had one, let alone two, of their bikes inside the top ten at World Superbike level.

Outside the top eight, Lorenzo Lanzi produced his best showing yet on the DFX Ducati to lead the third row in ninth, while Makoto Tamada built on his maiden Superpole showing by qualifying a solid 11th aboard the Kawasaki.

With BMW, Lanzi and Tamada rising to the fore, some more fancied riders find themselves starting lower than expected. Most notable of these was Carlos Checa, who had been disputing the top spot in the sessions leading to Superpole. However, despite looking as though he would sneak into the top eight with his last gasp lap, it wasn't to move the Spaniard past tenth position on the grid.

Meanwhile, Jakub Smrz was a rare omission from the top ten too after crashing during Q2 and being unable to set a quick enough time on the spare Guandalini Ducati when he returned to the circuit. He starts his home race from 12th position on the grid.

There was also disappointment for Stiggy Honda after Leon Haslam and John Hopkins were both eliminated during the opening qualification phase, the pair unable to capitalise on having tested at the Brno circuit recently to get amongst the leaders.