Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s season-opening World Superbike races from pole position after a heavy crash for David Salom saw the session brought to an early finish. The Ulsterman was the quickest rider in the early stages of SP2 and with Salom’s accident coming before anyone set a time on qualifying rubber, that initial time was enough for pole.
The grid was effectively decided by the very first laps for each rider in SP2 with Leon Haslam’s 1:31.507 being immediately usurped by Rea’s Kawasaki. Chaz Davies slotted into second and it was the Welshman who was left with the biggest hard-luck story to tell after the session was halted prematurely.
The Ducati rider was the first man to fit a qualifying tyre and was on target to go comfortably fastest until Salom lost control in spectacular fashion at the final corner. The front end of the Pedercini Kawasaki folded, sending the Spaniard into a sickening series of cartwheels as he hit the gravel trap. The red flags were inevitably brought out but the decision to stop the session was made seconds before Davies crossed the line to register a 1:30.800, a time that would later be cancelled.
Salom was soon stretchered away and taken to the medical centre where he later regained consciousness but curiously, race direction chose not to restart the session, instead calling a result with four minutes still to go. Rea was thus declared the polesitter with Davies and Haslam completing an all-British front row.
Michael van der Mark will line up an excellent fourth ahead of pre-session favourite Alex Lowes with Nicolas Terol and Jordi Torres ensuring three rookies would qualify ahead of the series’ most recent champions. Tom Sykes will have been more disappointed than most with the failure to restart the session having been nailed down in eighth while Sylvain Guintoli was forced to settle for ninth ahead of Matteo Baiocco, Salom and Leandro Mercado.
Superpole 1 also saw a brief suspension after a high-speed accident for Matthew Walters dropped debris at the first corner but once the green flags returned, Baiocco leapt to the top on a 1:31.639. Mercado joined his fellow Ducati rider in the mid-1:31s leaving Randy de Puniet as the fall guy, the injured Frenchman knocked out in third. Troy Bayliss also failed to make it through in fourth and will line up fourteenth for tomorrow’s races.
SWANN INSURANCE AUSTRALIAN ROUND: SUPERPOLE CLASSIFICATION
|1||Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:31.212|
|2||Chaz Davies||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team||1:31.238|
|3||Leon Haslam||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils||1:31.507|
|4||Michael van der Mark||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike||1:31.613|
|5||Alex Lowes||Suzuki||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||1:32.042|
|6||Nicolas Terol||Ducati||Althea Racing||1:32.081|
|7||Jordi Torres||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils||1:32.243|
|8||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:32.265|
|9||Sylvain Guintoli||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike||1:32.446|
|10||Matteo Baiocco||Ducati||Althea Racing||1:32.841|
|11||David Salom||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1:31.488|
|12||Leandro Mercado||Ducati||Barni Racing Team||1:31.885|
|ELIMINATED IN SUPERPOLE 1|
|13||Randy de Puniet||Suzuki||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||1:31.885|
|14||Troy Bayliss||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team||1:32.201|
|15||Leon Camier||MV Agusta||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||1:32.668|
|16||Jed Metcher||Kawasaki||Race Center – Demolition Plus||1:32.727|
|17||Niccolo Canepa||EBR||Team Hero EBR||1:32.998|
|18||Sylvain Barrier||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK||1:33.057|
|19||Matthew Walters||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1:33.477|
|20||Roman Ramos||Kawasaki||Team Go Eleven||1:33.716|
|FAILED TO QUALIFY FOR SUPERPOLE 1|
|21||Santiago Barragan||Kawasaki||Grillini SBK Team||1:33.960|
|22||Larry Pegram||EBR||Team Hero EBR||1:34.323|
|23||Christophe Ponsson||Kawasaki||Grillini SBK Team||1:34.324|
|24||Gabor Rizmayer||BMW||BMW Team Toth||1:34.633|
|25||Imre Toth||BMW||BMW Team Toth||1:36.699|