Phillip Island plays host to the FIM Supersport World Championship opener as Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) claimed pole position in Tissot Superpole on his WorldSSP debut. Locatelli had shown fast pace throughout the Official Test and the Free Practice sessions and converted that to pole position with a last-gasp effort, shattering the lap record in the process.
Locatelli will line up alongside two WorldSSP Champions after Randy Krummenacher (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) qualified in second and third place respectively. Both Locatelli and Krummenacher broke the existing lap record on their way to claiming first and second on the grid, as both traded paint for WorldSSP supremacy in Australia. Locatelli had led the way during the session but Krummenacher put in a lap faster than the Italian rookie by 0.017s. Locatelli was able to respond to this on his last flying lap to claim his first WorldSSP pole position, meaning he leads the front row alongside two Champions.
Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) qualified in fourth place, despite a FP3 crash, on the second row and will line-up alongside Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), with the latter starting from a healthy position on his WorldSSP debut. With the grid lining up like this, Yamaha, MV Agusta and Kawasaki have a bike on the first and second rows making for an exciting prospect on Sunday afternoon.
Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) will start in seventh place ahead of Spanish rider Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing). Cluzel’s GMT94 teammate Corentin Perolari qualified in ninth place to round out the third row on the grid with Federico Fuligni (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) completing the top ten.
Turkish rookie Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) will line up in 11th on the grid as he leads Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) in 12th. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) qualified in 13th place ahead of Britain’s Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing). Another rookie, Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing), qualified in 18th. Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) was the top Honda rider after he qualified in 15th.
#AUSWorldSBK at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit – Saturday
Top six after Tissot Superpole in WorldSSP:
- Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) 1’32.176
- Randy Krummenacher (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.147
- Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.441
- Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.715
- Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.718
- Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.783