Jakub Smrz proved his run to provisional pole position yesterday was by no means a fluke as he secured himself a definite front row grid slot at Phillip Island.

The Czech rider was the surprise pace setter on the first day of competition, but was under pressure to perform in Superpole after failing to improve on his best lap during the generally faster second qualification session.

Nonetheless, a few tweaks to his Guandalini machine saw Smrz ease into the top eight shootout, where he would proceed to sneak onto the outside the front row for the first round of the season.

Classified as Ducati's highest-placed representative, Smrz's performance is even more notable for the fact he is the only rider inside the top 14 that didn't test at the circuit last week.

"For us it is a very good start to the season because we didn't test here like the other guys. Now I am very pleased with the bike especially because this morning we had some small problems, then in Superpole everything went better.

"It's very nice to be ahead of the factory Ducatis but it's only the start of the season and what is most important is to get a good result in the race."

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