23 February 2019
Kawasaki’s world champion Jonathan Rea has produced a stunning, record-breaking Superpole qualifying lap to claim pole position for the season-opening MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Yamaha Finance round at Phillip Island.
The 32-year-old’s qualifying lap of 1min29.413 on the ZX-10RR is the fastest that a production-based superbike has ever circulated around the 4.448km grand prix circuit, besting his previous benchmark (1:29.573) set in 2017.
It’s Rea’s 17th pole position in WorldSBK racing, and his third at Phillip Island.
Rea’s extraordinary lap in the last few minutes of the 25-minute session saw him shoot to the top of the timesheets after Alex Lowes (Yamaha), Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) had taken turns at the top.
Haslam (1:29.626) and Bautista (1:29.729), who had been the dominant force in practice, will join Rea on the front row for this afternoon’s opening 22-lap race, with row two to be filled by 2018 polesitter Tom Sykes (BMW, 1:29.822), Lowes (1:29.987) and rookie Sandro Cortese (Yamaha, 1:30.159).
The first Honda, ridden by factory pilot Leon Camier, will start from 10th on the grid in the 19-bike field.
Last year’s Phillip Island winner Marco Melandri (Yamaha) will start from the third row after qualifying in ninth, while world No. 2 Chaz Davies (Ducati) has some serious work to do after completing the session well back in 16th position (row six).