Shane Byrne's World Superbike season got off to a bruising start after he suffered a nasty accident towards the end of the provisional qualifying session at Phillip Island, the former British Superbike champion hurting his back in the process.

The Briton was trying hard to displace Althea Ducati team-mate Carlos Checa from the top of the timesheets with his very final lap of the day, Byrne proceeding to go fastest of all during the first sector before high-siding.

Falling heavily on his back, Byrne admits he is feeling the effects of the accident and is now hoping a period of rest will enable him to be fit for the remainder of the weekend.

"I had a big high side during my last fast lap while trying to improve my best lap time. I landed straight on my back and at the moment I'm experiencing a lot of pain. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to rest and feel better tomorrow.

"I'm disappointed because the feeling with the bike was very good and without crashing I probably could have bettered my position. Now it's important that I rest in order to be ready for tomorrow qualifying session and Superpole."

Despite the fall, Byrne was still fourth fastest in provisional qualifying, half a second slower than his pace setting team-mate.