World Superbike exile and serial qualifier Jakub Smrz has made history for his Splitlath Aprilia by team by topping the MCE British Superbike final free practice session at Assen this morning.
The Czech Republic rider stormed to the top of the timesheets right at the end of the period, banging in a 1'39.631 on a drying track to push the injured Shane Byrne into second place while Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes recovered from an early spill to claim third and only three-tenths in arrears.
"We left it quite a time for the track to dry but after 20 mins or so it was still damp. My first lap was just to have a look round, the second I put more of a time in and the third a bit more but touched the paint which must have held a bit more moisture and the back let go and high-sided me off," said the Bringelly man.
"We got the bike back and was able to go out for the last six minutes when it was still not the ideal out there, with some water in the ripples. I was trying to be as fast as I could and got in two flying laps and they were OK.?"
The session began wet, dried a little and then suffered a sprinkling of showers which caught out Brookes and the Moto Rapido Ducati of Scott Smart but there was enough dry track at the end for Smrz to put in one of the fast laps for which he is so reowned on the world stage.
Fellow ex-WSBK man Noriyuki Haga, still carrying the not-healed broken collarbone, employed his track knowlege to bag fourth place, one ahed of team-mate Tommy Hill who had an off yesterday and is getting to grips with the new engine spec first trialled at Donington Park in the Swan Yamaha.
Yesterday's fastest man Alex Lowes came home in sixth place ahead of Patric Muff, who was also fast in yesterday's second session. Barry Burrell continues to shine on the Buildbase BMW in eighth with Luca Scassa and title fighter Tommy Bridewell completing the top ten.
Showdown man Michael Laverty finished way down in 18th place on the Samsung Honda, one place ahead of Michael Rutter who would usually be revelling in these conditions. Stuart Easton, on the second Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, was 22nd.