Jakub Smrz has ended the opening day of World Superbike action at Imola on top of the timesheets after his last Q1 effort was enough to unseat Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz.

The Czech rider, who is yet to win a WSBK race in 134 starts, left it until his very final lap to burst to the front of the field, his time of 1min 48.146secs slipping just under Lascorz's 1min 48.176secs attempt.

Indeed, Lascorz looked set to be fronting a Kawasaki 1-2 having moved ahead of Tom Sykes late in the session, but while Smrz was able to grab the headlines from him, second and third fastest mark another impressive showing for Kawasaki.

Max Biaggi kept the Italian fans smiling with the fourth best time, just ahead of top Honda and BMW representatives Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam.

Imola lap record holder Carlos Checa was a fairly modest seventh best on the Althea Ducati, ahead of Smrz's Effenbert Liberty team-mate Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman losing time late on with a mechanical problem.

Aprilia's Eugene Laverty and Suzuki's Leon Camier rounded out the leading positions, the latter ensuring all six manufacturers were represented inside the top ten.

Behind them, FP1 pace setter Ayrton Badovini could only manage 12th best this time, while Marco Melandri was similarly down the timesheets in 14th place, just ahead of Chaz Davies on the ParkinGO MTC Aprilia. Even so, things remain incredibly close with just a single second covering the top fifteen.

John Hopkins, returning to action this weekend following his injury, was 18th fastest and outside of the provisional Superpole positions, a status he currently shares with Niccol Canepa, David Salom, Michel Fabrizio, Mark Aitchison, Hiroshi Aoyama, Leandro Mercado, Brett McCormick and Lorenzo Alfonsi.