Toseland in control
James Toseland blitzed the first qualifying session at Phillip Island with a lap time 0.6 seconds faster than his closest rival.
Toseland, clearly on a high after last weekends win and second place in Qatar looked smooth and fast from the opening lap having clearly benefited from the test at the Australian circuit in January.
Toseland’s pace from the start of the session allowed him to concentrate on selecting a race tyre, with wear clearly going to be a major concern for every team during the two races. Speaking exclusively to MCN, Toseland said:
“Today couldn’t have gone much better really. The bike is working really well so we’re not really having to work too much on that.
“I’ve been working through the tyre selection we’ve got, eliminating the ones that aren’t going to do the whole race. The track has actually been a bit greasy today and I know other riders were complaining of that but I was able to still set some good times.
“To be honest my bike felt so good I should be 0.6 seconds in front.”
Troy Bayliss followed up his Free Practice performance to go second fastest but tyre life still remains a concern for the factory Ducati squad. Both Bayliss and Lanzi, who ended the day fourth fastest spent the bulk of the session completing long runs to evaluate race tyres.
Spaniard Fonsi Nieto had a good day onboard his PSG-1 Kawasaki and ended up third after splitting the two Ducati men in the final minutes of the session.
Max Biaggi walked away unscathed from a freak crash on his in lap at the end of the session when he hit the pit wall on his way into the pits.
The Italian finished up in sixth spot 0.9 seconds behind Toseland and blamed the crash on hitting lose sand at the edge of the circuit.