Phillip Island WSB: Smrz surprise package in WSB first qualifying

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Jacob Smrz stole the limelight on the opening day of round one of the World Superbike championship to take provisional pole position.

In scorching 33 degree ambient temperatures and 51 degree track temperature the Guandolini Ducati rider set an impressive 1m 32.312 in the very last lap of the hour long session.

His time dislodged factory Ducati man Noriyuki Haga from the top of the timesheets with Britain’s Leon Haslam in third.

Haslam held provisional pole with less than two minutes of the session remaining and proved the pace of his new Stiggy Honda CBR1000RR and the potential of his team.

He said: “When I crossed the line I was P1 and thought ‘that’ll do’, but ended up third, which isn’t too bad.

“We’re still trying a lot with the bike, but it’s working well. The only problem I’m having is that I’m pushing the front a bit especially when we fit a new rear tyre because it has extra grip.

“The track temperature is playing a big part so I think for a real fast time we need to come out the box straight away when it’s cooler and go for a lap time.”

Alstare Suzuki men Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama were once again impressive ending the day in fourth and fifth position.

Tom Sykes was the next Brit in ninth, one place and 3/100ths behind team-mate Ben Spies.

Shane Byrne survived a slow speed crash at Honda corner to finish in 15th place just 1.005s of pole.

He said: “I just tucked the front at the hairpin, it was nothing serious. If I look at my position of 15th it’s shit but when I look at the lap time and the fact that I’m only a second off I can’t be that unhappy.

“Having not tested here I’m definitely behind. I’m trying to get it all set-up in two hours where everyone else has already had two days. I’d like to get into the top ten in qualifying tomorrow and then see what we can do in Superpole.”

Jonathan Rea finished in 17th spot but was satisfied with his days working having completed a full 22 lap race simulation.

Tommy Hill finished in 21st place, 1.8s off pole.

1  96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’32.312
2  41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’32.569
3  91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.623
4  76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’32.673
5  71 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’32.704
6  56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 1’32.928
7  84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’32.932
8  19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’32.939
9  66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’32.971
10   9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.991
11   3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1’32.995
12  55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098 RS 09 1’33.202
13  44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’33.206
14   7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’33.224
15  67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’33.317
16  11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’33.377
17  65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’33.418
18 100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’33.709
19  23 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’33.911
20 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’34.080
21  33 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’34.123
22  25 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’34.487
23  24 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 1’35.123
24  31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’35.716
25  99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’35.759
26  77 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’36.103
27  15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’36.514
28  86 Badovini A. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’37.127