Noriyuki Haga made his first appearance at the top of a World Superbike Q1 timesheet this season as he led a Ducati Xerox 1-3 around Brno.
An unexpected appearance at the front for last year's runner-up, the surprise of Haga's pace is seemingly a measure of his struggle for form on what was originally expected to be the bike to beat in 2010.
Nonetheless, having seen team-mate Michel Fabrizio
go quickest in FP1. it was Haga who would steal the spotlight in Q1, the Italian having to settle for third place after getting bumped down right at the end by Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow.
Although only three riders would dip below 2mins, the remaining order was closely matched, with just one second covering Carlos Checa
in fourth down to Tom Sykes in 18th – an impressive feat given the length of the Czech circuit.
Having been outside the top ten in free practice, Max Biaggi
was a more representative fifth on the Aprilia in Q1, well up on Leon Haslam, who could only manage the 17th fastest time on his Suzuki.
As was the case earlier in the day, Ruben Xaus
was BMW's top rider in a fine sixth place, although Troy Corser
could have been higher than 12th but for an accident during the session that required a trip to the medical centre.
In seventh was the day's big surprise Jakub Smrz, the local rider quickly finding his pace on the Aprilia RSV-4 to set the seventh best time – just two tenths off the provisional front row.
Jonathan Rea was eighth fastest as he continues to battle through handling issues on the Ten Kate Honda, while James Toseland and Luca Scassa rounded out the top ten.
Further back behind Corser, Shane Byrne was 13th, just ahead of Max Neukirchner, while Leon Camier marginally outpaced Haslam in 16th.