Smrz out front in first Assen practice

The Effenbert-Liberty Ducati rider gets his weekend off to a good start as he looks to build on his career best finish at Donington Park.
Fresh from his podium finish last time out at Donington Park, Jakub Smrz set the pace during first free practice for the third round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship at Assen.

The Czech rider produced his best towards the end of the session to vault an ever-changing leaderboard, Smrz emerging four hundredths faster than fellow Ducati man and series leader Carlos Checa.

Indeed, four riders occupied the top spot in the final five minutes, with Noriyuki Haga originally looking on course to hold firm aboard the PATA Aprilia after a series of fast laps mid-session enabled him to stay quickest up until the closing stages.

He would eventually be bumped down to fourth place behind the two Ducatis and Jonathan Rea, who was never outside the top five at any point in the session.

BMW recovered from a slow start to get both Troy Corser and Leon Haslam up to fifth and sixth, ahead of reigning champion Max Biaggi, while Eugene Laverty's late effort put him marginally ahead of Yamaha team-mate Marco Melandri in eighth and ninth. Ruben Xaus completed the top ten.

Another typically close session, just one second covered fourth down to 16th, with Leon Camier and Tom Sykes classified in 11th and 15th positions.

WSBK newcomer Barry Veneman, deputising for James Toseland at BMW Italia this weekend, made an encouraging start to briefly feature inside the top ten, before the Dutchman eventually slipped to 14th.

Elsewhere, Sylvain Guintoli, who is still suffering from injuries sustained at Phillip Island, was 17th, while Chris Vermeulen was out on track for just seven laps on the way to 19th.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Smrz, Australian WSBK 2011
Smrz, Australian WSBK 2011
Smrz, Australian WSBK 2011
Smrz, Australian WSBK 2011
Smrz, Australian WSBK 2011
Smrz, Australian WSBK 2011
Last corner, Track, Assen WSBK 2017
Last corner, Assen WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia, Assen WSBK 2017
Last corner, Assen WSBK 2017
Villicum Circuit, Argentina, World Superbikes [Credit: WorldSBK]
Gino Rea, WSS Race, Aragon WSBK 2017
Kyle Ryde and Jonathan Rea, WSS Race, Aragon WSBK 2017
Yamaha WSS Team, WSS Race, Aragon WSBK 2017
Gino Rea, WSS Race, Aragon WSBK 2017
Camier, Ramos and Bradl, Race2, Aragon WSBK 2017
VD Mark and Sykes, Race2, Aragon WSBK 2017
Ramos and Camier, Race2, Aragon WSBK 2017

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April 15, 2011 12:37 PM

I hate to get all excited over fp1 but Haga! Love to see an. 'In-form Haga riding inches from someones rear wheel making the passes that he makes. Hope smyrz sorts it out felt bad for him last race.

TDS - Unregistered

April 15, 2011 12:23 PM

Good to see Jonathan Rea back up there I hope he repeats last years success. It's great when Jonny is racing well as you are always guaranteed some fab stuff!! I do think however that Chris Vermulien's racing days are over! Such a shame, but whatever injury he has is worse than we are led to think! I wish we were able to watch W.S.B. practise.

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