British rider Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) pushed his way to the fastest Supersport time Phillip Island has ever seen in first qualifying, with a 1’32.545 lap that comfortably bettered the existing race lap record and track best.
In his first event on his R6, after years spent on Honda machinery, Lowes headed off reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India) by over a second on his way to a clear early advantage.
In a sensational early success for the new ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse team, Robbie Rolfo was third in the first qualifying session for the new F3 675. He posted regular 1’34 laps in his first qualifying session.
Reigning Superstock 600 champion and WSS rookie Michael van der Mark put in the fastest time from a CBR600RR rider, fourth overall on his Pata Honda. This meant that four of the top six competing manufacturers finished in the top four places at the first time of asking - even though the gap between first and fourth was a huge 1.561 seconds.
Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) stepped up to global competition well with a fifth best time while Kevin Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini) was ninth and Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse), tenth.
An unprecedented five red flags in the very first free session in the morning, held in dry conditions, were followed by absolutely none in the qualifying session. Spots of rain at the start were worrying for the riders at first but came to nothing.
Just to cap off an astonishingly good initial ride on his new bike, Lowes set his best time at the very beginning of his long run to test tyres.
One more qualifying session remains on Saturday after a free session in the morning.
Results First Qualifying
1. Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport) Yamaha YZF R6 1'32.545
2. Kenan Sofuoglu (MAHI Racing Team India) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'33.664
3. Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) MV Agusta F3 675 1'34.081
4. Michael Vd Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) Honda CBR600RR 1'34.106
5. Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto) Honda CBR600RR 1'34.143
6. Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'34.359
7. Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) Honda CBR600RR 1'34.465
8. Massimo Roccoli (Team Pata by Martini) Yamaha YZF R6 1'34.466
9. Kev Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'34.484
10. Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) MV Agusta F3 675 1'34.551
11. Vladimir Ivanov (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'34.580
12. Fabien Foret (MAHI Racing Team India) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'34.676
13. Balazs Nemeth (Complus SMS Racing) Honda CBR600RR 1'34.677
14. Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini) Honda CBR600RR 1'34.778
15. Kevin Curtain (Yamaha Racing Team) Yamaha YZF R6 1'34.789
16. Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing) Yamaha YZF R6 1'34.852
17. Alex Baldolini (Team Lorini) Honda CBR600RR 1'34.874
18. Josh Hook (Team Honda Racing) Honda CBR600RR 1'34.944
19. David Linortner (Team Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 1'35.091
20. Mathew Scholtz (Suriano Racing Team) Suzuki GSX-R600 1'35.102
21. Roberto Tamburini (Suriano Racing Team) Suzuki GSX-R600 1'35.138
22. Luca Marconi (PTR Honda) Honda CBR600RR 1'35.330
23. Dino Lombardi (Pata by Martini Team) Yamaha YZF R6 1'35.333
24. Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth) Honda CBR600RR 1'35.337
25. Matt Davies (Team Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 1'35.380
26. Luca Salvadori (Team Pata by Martini) Yamaha YZF R6 1'35.566
27. Mitchell Carr (AARK Racing) Triumph 675 R 1'36.285
28. Nacho Calero Perez (Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 1'36.293
29. Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth) Honda CBR600RR 1'36.762
30. Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'37.030
31. Eduard Blokhin (Rivamoto) Honda CBR600RR 1'38.674