Kawasaki’s world champion Jonathan Rea has produced a stunning, record-breaking Superpole qualifying lap to claim pole position for the season-opening MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Yamaha Finance round at Phillip Island.
The 32-year-old’s qualifying lap of 1min29.413 on the ZX-10RR is the fastest that a production-based superbike has ever circulated around the 4.448km grand prix circuit, besting his previous benchmark (1:29.573) set in 2017.
It’s Rea’s 17th pole position in WorldSBK racing, and his third at Phillip Island.
Rea’s extraordinary lap in the last few minutes of the 25-minute session saw him shoot to the top of the timesheets after Alex Lowes (Yamaha), Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) had taken turns at the top.
Haslam (1:29.626) and Bautista (1:29.729), who had been the dominant force in practice, will join Rea on the front row for this afternoon’s opening 22-lap race, with row two to be filled by 2018 polesitter Tom Sykes (BMW, 1:29.822), Lowes (1:29.987) and rookie Sandro Cortese (Yamaha, 1:30.159).
The first Honda, ridden by factory pilot Leon Camier, will start from 10th on the grid in the 19-bike field.
Last year’s Phillip Island winner Marco Melandri (Yamaha) will start from the third row after qualifying in ninth, while world No. 2 Chaz Davies (Ducati) has some serious work to do after completing the session well back in 16th position (row six).
Although Aussie wildcard Troy Herfoss (Honda) failed to meet the 107 per cent qualifying cut-off (ie 107 per cent of Rea’s best lap), the national superbike champion been given dispensation to compete in race one.
See you Trackside at the Island for a Triple-Treat
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