Michel Fabrizio kicked off the Czech round of the World Superbike Championship as he hopes to go on by claiming the fastest time in opening free practice at Brno.

The Italian was the only rider to go beneath 2mins during the hour-long session as he comfortably out paced Ducati counterpart Carlos Checa by four tenths of a second.

With the circuit scrubbing in as the session continued, most of the fast times were set in the latter minutes. Despite this, BMW made it apparent that it will be a reckoned force this weekend as Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus both troubled the top of the timesheets from start to finish.

Unusually it was Xaus getting the better of his Misano pole-sitting team-mate on this occasion with the third best time, the Spaniard determined to make amends this weekend after breaking his leg at the Czech venue last season.

Noriyuki Haga spent a portion of time at the top of the timesheets before slipping to an eventual fifth, just ahead of in-form privateer Luca Scassa on the year-old 1198.

It was a good session all round for Ducati as its remaining competitors Shane Byrne and Lorenzo Lanzi went eighth and tenth respectively, while Yamaha ensured only three different manufacturers would make the top ten in seventh and ninth, Cal Crutchlow leading James Toseland.

As such, championship contenders Max Biaggi and Leon Haslam could only manage 12th and 13th on their respective Aprilia and Suzuki bikes, while Jonathan Rea was again outside the top ten on his Honda in 11th.

Elsewhere, Jakub Smrz was making his debut on the Aprilia RSV-4 following B&G Racing team's switch from Ducati between the races. The Czech is gelling relatively well with the foreign machine, setting the 14th best time, ahead of factory rider Leon Camier and just three tenths off Biaggi.