TROY BAYLISS stamped his authority on the opening day of round two of the WSB series at Phillip Island in Australia by claiming provisional pole position.
Infostrada Ducati’s Bayliss was four-tenths of a second faster than nearest rival Colin Edwards on the Castrol Honda VTR SP-2 with the Australian world champ looking comfortable.
His time of 1:32.656s was just over half a second slower than the qualifying time Max Biaggi notched up at the 500GP in 2001 on a Yamaha YZR500 that weighs 30kg less than Bayliss’s Ducati 998R.
Bayliss said: " It’s been a good day because we have done a lot of the set-up work for the rest of the weekend and can now just concentrate on finding a tyre that will last the race. "
Worringly for his rivals Bayliss was not using a top-spec engine as he is saving that for Superpole tomorrow and the races on Sunday.
Bayliss dominated the opening round at Valencia in Spain a fortnight ago when he took pole and a double race win and is looking favourite to repeat the success at his home round.
Top British riders were the HM Plant duo of Neil Hodgson and James Toseland who finished eighth and ninth respectively with Chris Walker ending up 13th quickest overall.
Hodgson said: " It’s been a steady day but I think there is room for us both to go quicker tomorrow. "
Walker added: " I may only be 13th quickest but I have gone 1.5s quicker than I managed at the test and that’s exactly what I needed to give me a little bit of confidence. "
The fourth British rider in the series is Mark Heckles who managed to claim the 22nd fastest time on his Rumi Castrol Honda VTR SP-2 kit bike.
World Superbikes, Phillip Island; Friday qualifying:
1 Troy Bayliss (Aus) Ducati 1mins 32.656secs
2 Colin Edwards (US) Honda 1:33.064
3 Pierfrancesco Chili (Ita) Ducati 1:33.291
4 Noriyuki Haga (Jpn) Aprilia 1:33.540
5 Ruben Xaus (Spa) Ducati 1:33.626
6 Gregorio Lavilla (Spa) Suzuki 1:33.834
7 Ben Bostrom (USA) Ducati 1:33.846
8 Neil Hodgson (GB) Ducati 1:34.022
9 James Toseland (GB) Ducati 1:34.429
10 Hitoyasu Izutsu (Jpn) Kawasaki 1:34.663
13 Chris Walker (GB) Kawasaki 1:35.103
22 Mark Heckles (GB) Honda 1:37.823