Jonathan Rea on his way to provisional pole position

Jonathan Rea on his way to provisional pole position

Honda World Superbike rider Jonathan Rea took provisional pole position for the opening round of the 2012 World Superbike championship at Phillip Island in Australia after setting the fastest time in this afternoon’s first qualifying session.

Rea was the only rider to lap the 4.445km circuit below 1m32s, with Jakub Smrz, Davide Guigliano and reigning world champion, Carlos Checa, joining the 25-year-old Ulsterman on the provisional front row.

Rea’s Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, had a difficult first morning in World Superbikes, with a crash at Phillip Island’s turn two. With the new one-bike rule coming into force this season, the Japanese rider managed to get back to the pits where his crew re-built his machine for the last ten minutes of free practice.

Aoyama was 15th in this afternoon’s qualifying session, but is confident of progress in tomorrow’s practice and qualifying and is hoping to make his debut in Superpole tomorrow afternoon.

Jonathan Rea – P1, 1m31.959s
The day started quite poorly for us as we used the smaller, less preferred tyre at this track and it wasn’t going good. I got a bad rhythm and felt like I wasn’t riding good but in the afternoon we worked on a long run with the harder race tyre to see what consistency is like with that. Consistency is really good, but the lap time is not so good, so right at the very end of the session we used the softer tyre, but still the bigger one, and the lap time was good. So I know my pace is good and the bike’s working well in the conditions, but it’s still a compromise with tyres. Tomorrow we’ll do more long runs on both the tyres and make our mind up for the race, but the target’s to be on the front row, for sure.

Hiroshi Aoyama – P15, 1m33.040s
Well, for me, the first day of the superbike experience wasn’t so easy because I had one crash and some kind of trouble. We could not do what we wanted to do today so there was a little stress for everybody. I think we know what we should change for tomorrow and I hope that it’s another day to feel better.

2012 World Superbike championship – round one, Phillip Island, Australia

First qualifying results:

1 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team 1m31.959s
2 Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati 1m32.116s
3 Davide Guigliano (ITA) Ducati 1m32.198s
4 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 1m32.228s
5 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1m32.318s
6 Nicola Canepa (ITA) Ducati1m32.343s
7 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m32.402s
8 Joan Lascorz (ESP) Kawasaki 1m32.443s
9 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1m32.553s
10 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) BMW 1m32.609s
15 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team 1m33.040s

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