Jakub Smrz continued to assert his authority on World Superbike proceedings at Assen to once again top the timesheets during first qualification.

The Czech rider, who scored his first-ever WSBK podium finish at Assen two years ago, once again left it until the latter stages to put in his best effort, vaulting to the top with just under ten minutes remaining with a 1min 36.083secs.

Lowering that to 1min 36.053 in the final seconds, it was enough to put a two tenth margin between himself and Max Biaggi, who peaked in second position aboard the Aprilia having spent the session steadily working his way up the order.

Heading a trio of Italian riders, Marco Melandri was third fastest having briefly held the top spot with around ten minutes remaining, while Michel Fabrizio made vast improvements between the sessions to go fourth for Suzuki.

Kawasaki also enjoyed an upturn in fortunes this afternoon, with Joan Lascorz featuring at the front early on before eventually dropping to 12th, while Tom Sykes went in the opposite direction, ending up a fine fifth.

BMW were also in fine fettle as they held down a 1-2 for much of the session, Troy Corser leading Leon Haslam, though they would be bumped down to sixth and seventh respectivey at the chequered flag.

Eugene Laverty was eighth best, ahead of Jonathan Rea, Noriyuki Haga and Carlos Checa the trio unable to replicate the form that had them inside the top five during FP1.

Further back, Ayrton Badovini was 15th fastest, despite falling, while he was joined in the provisional 'safe zone' by BMW Italia team-mate Barry Veneman in 16th.

Currently, those outside the top sixteen are Maxime Berger, Sylvain Guintoli, Chris Vermeulen - who was hampered by a technical issue -, Roberto Rolfo and Mark Aitchison.



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