Jakub Smrz's quest to give his fans something to cheer about during his home round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship at Brno got off to a good start in free practice as he topped the timesheets.
The Effenbert-Liberty Ducati rider comes to Brno as the Czech Republic's sole representative once more, the Donington Park and Miller Motorsports Park podium winner looking to improve on a best finish on home soil of just sixth place.
Striking in the final seconds of a session that came alive in the closing minutes, Smrz was just under two tenths faster than 'Brno-master' Max Biaggi, while his fellow MotoGP alumni Marco Melandri sneaked up into third position with his last lap.
Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio
held down the quickest time mid-way through the session before settling for fourth quickest, ahead of Smrz's team-mate Sylvain Guintoli.
A fast-moving session, Leon Camier was fastest with just five minutes of the session to go, only to be dumped down to sixth at the chequered flag, while seventh place Carlos Checa
and eighth place Leon Haslam also enjoyed spells at the top before dropping to the bottom end of the top ten.
Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty squeezed into the top ten in ninth and tenth, edging out Ruben Xaus, Noriyuki Haga
and Joan Lascorz, who suffered a fall in the latter stages.
Elsewhere, James Toseland was 18th fastest in his first timed session since Miller Motorsports Park, while Alex Lowes's WSBK debut got off to a solid start in 19th place, 2.7secs off the pace. The youngster was classified ahead of Castrol Honda team-mate Xaus for much of the session, but would lose ground in the closing stages when he was unable to improve.
Chris Vermeulen, meanwhile, failed to set a lap time after crashing on his first flying lap and not returning to the circuit thereafter.