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Superb Lowes storms to provisional pole

22 February 2013

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Sam Lowes has taken a magnificent provisional pole position for the opening round of the 2013 World Supersport Championship after destroying the lap record once again at Phillip Island.

Lowes, who is making his Yakhnich Yamaha debut this weekend, has been in scintillating form around the Melbourne circuit since arriving in Australia, the Briton hinting at his credentials with an impressive performance during pre-season testing.

However, having already lived up to his billing by comfortably breaking Joan Lascorz's three-year old record during FP1 with a lap of 1min 33.294secs, he would go on to smash his own personal best in Q1, lapping in 1min 32.545secs.

Though the newly resurfaced Phillip Island circuit was always expected to yield new records when the race weekend got underway, Lowes's effort is still remarkable for the fact it would have earned him a spot in the mid-field on the Superbike Q1 timesheets.

With Lowes surging ahead, reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu had to be content with second position, more than a second behind his arch rival, though he too would command a sizeable margin back to third place rider Roberto Rolfo, the Italian impressively lifting the new ParkinGO-prepared MV Agusta F3 into the upper echelons of the timesheets on its debut weekend.

Michael van der Mark bounced back from his tumble in FP1 to go fourth quickest, just ahead of fellow rookie Honda rider Jack Kennedy, the RivaMoto man – along with sixth place Andrea Antonelli on the GoEleven Kawasaki and seventh place Lorenzo Zanetti on the Pata Honda - making big gains in the final minutes of the session.

Together with Massimo Roccoli in eighth, ahead of British duo Kev Coghlan and Christian Iddon on their respective DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki and ParkinGO MV Agusta machines, the first provisional qualifying session of the season wouldn't go the way the form book had arguably predicted.

Even so, this was in part due to a handful of the anticipated front runners, including Gabor Talmacsi, David Salom, Vladimir Leonov and Luca Scassa, missing the session altogether after earlier crashing in the dramatic red flag-filled FP1 session.

Further back, Fabien Foret completed only a handful of laps to end up in 12th place, while wild-card riders Kevin Curtain and Josh Hook are 15th and 18th on the provisional grid.

After 12 crashes and five red flag periods in FP1, the first qualifying session of the season was completed without interruption, with only David Linortner and Balazs Nemeth suffering falls this time.