British Yamaha rider Sam Lowes has reaffirmed his favourtism for the opening round of the 2013 Supersport World Championship at Phillip Island on Sunday, by setting the best ever lap of the circuit in opening qualifying this afternoon.
Lowes scorched around the 4.445km layout in 1m32.545s on his Russian-backed machine, over one second ahead of reigning world champion Kenan Sofouglu (1:33.664). The previous circuit best for a World Supersport bike was 1:33.847, set by Spaniard Joan Lascorz in 2010.
MV Agusta rider Roberto Rolfo (1:34.081) and Michael Van Der Mark (Honda, 1:34.106) were third and fourth in the 45-minute session, while Lake Macquarie (NSW) rider Kevin Curtain (1:34.789) was the leading Australian in 15th, three spots ahead of Honda’s Josh Hook (1:34.944).
Hook wasn’t even expected to take part in qualifying after a massive crash at turn nine in opening practice, but his team was able to cobble together a makeshift replacement just in time.
West Wyalong (NSW) teenager Matt Davies (Honda) and Wollongong’s Mitchell Carr (Triumph) – both full-time World Supersport riders in 2013 – were 25th and 27th respectively in the 31-bike field. Carr also crashed this morning and badly damaged his bike.
There will be a second practice session tomorrow morning before final qualifying at 4:05pm.