Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga have hinted that they have speed in reserve following the opening day of World Superbike action at Phillip Island as they dedicated much of their focus to tyre development.
With sweltering weather conditions making it difficult to decide which rubber to use over the remainder of the weekend, both Fabrizio and Haga underwent long runs on soft tyres during provisional qualifying.
Despite suffering a fall during free practice, Fabrizio was the quicker Ducati Xerox rider, setting the second fastest time of the day and missing out on provisional pole position by a mere seven thousandths of a second.
“We tried different tyre solutions this morning and various setting solutions in agreement with my engineer. I had a fall, losing the front, but without causing myself, or my bike, too much damage fortunately.
“Then in the qualifying session we found a good direction with the tyre solution that may well be the one to choose for the race; the results were quite encouraging. During my fast lap I lost a couple of tenths through the last corner but I'm happy; we've worked well and I'm satisfied with the results. We have a good race pace but a lot will depend on Sunday's weather.”
Haga followed in fifth position, the 2009 runner-up shrugging off his status as the fourth best placed Ducati rider by insisting he didn't want be among the many fallers by pushing too hard for a fast time.
“We've tested the different rear tyres that Pirelli make available to us this weekend but we are still undecided as to which will have the best durability in these hot conditions.
“Tomorrow we'll try a different solution for the setting but overall I'm happy. The lap times have been consistent but today was very hot and although I felt I could have pushed a little more, I didn't want to risk it, also because I saw that several riders crashed."