Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa sent out a warning to his World Superbike Championship title rivals by claiming the fastest time in first qualification at Brno.

Having maintained a fairly low profile during first free practice around the Czech circuit, Checa swept to the top of the timesheets with less than ten minutes remaining to displace long-time pace setter Jakub Smrz.

The championship leader would stop the clock at 1min 59.322secs, leaving him more than two tenths up on Smrz, who held down second place around his local circuit.

Behind the two Ducatis, Yamaha riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty completed the day in third and fourth positions, while Checa's closest title rival Max Biaggi was fifth fastest.

Tom Sykes lifted his Kawasaki into sixth position, ahead of the sole factory BMW of Leon Haslam, while Michel Fabrizio, Sylvain Guintoli and Ayrton Badovini completed the top ten.

Leon Camier was 11th fastest, despite losing time with a technical issue on his Aprilia RSV-4, while Alex Lowes's WSBK initiation hit a snag in Q1 after a crash during the early stages. He returned to the circuit, but could only manage the 21st fastest time.

Currently, Lowes is joined by Roberto Rolfo, Matteo Baiocco, Joan Lascorz, Chris Vermeulen and Viktor Kispataki in the provisional drop zone ahead of the crucial Q2 session tomorrow morning.