Talented Supersport rookie Pearson qualifies quickest in wet conditions.
Triple title-winner Josh Waters will start his 2018 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) presented by Motul Pirelli defence from pole position at Phillip Island in season-opening races.
A mixed – largely wet – single YMI Superbike qualifying session saw the Team Suzuki Ecstar rider constantly lower the benchmark, posting his pole time of 1m43.676s on his final lap.
Waters led Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team) by 0.928s at the end of the 20-minute session, while three-time world champion Troy Bayliss (DesmoSport Ducati) starred in his comeback ride by slotting the Panigale into third. He did jump to provisional pole in the closing minutes, before Waters and Maxwell improved further.
In his first appearance with Yamaha Racing Team Daniel Falzon will start fourth, as Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing) qualified fifth on debut with his new-look team. Top of the privateers was Michael Blair (Gosford Classic Car Museum Yamaha) in sixth.
A wet track greeted the Kawasaki Supersport riders and it was rookie Broc Pearson (Yamaha) who set the pace for much of the session, eventually sealing pole position with a 1m50.261s by just 0.045s from Yamaha Racing Team’s Cru Halliday and class veteran Brendan Clarke (Kawasaki).
Fourth at the conclusion of qualifying came Giuseppe Scarcella (BCperformance Junior Team) following a faster final lap, bumping Cube Racing’s Tom Toparis (Kawasaki) – also on world championship duties this weekend – back to fifth on the grid.
The Supersport 300 pole position belonged to newcomer Harry Khouri with a 1m50.907s, leading an all-Yamaha front row of Tom Bramich and Hunter Ford. KTM-mounted Seth Crump and another R3 in Zac Levy filled the top five.
In the YMF R3 Cup qualifying session late this afternoon it was Ford who claimed pole position with a 1m50.394s, this time marginally ahead of Bramich as Locky Taylor completed the front row – all lapping within 0.415s. Next best was Zac Levy, with Khouri fifth.