New Althea Ducati rider Davide Giugliano caused a surprise in first World Superbike qualifying at Phillip Island on Friday - with a little help from team-mate and world champion Carlos Checa.

Just 16th in morning practice, Giugliano vaulted to third place in first qualifying for the Australian season-opener - ahead of Checa and just 0.259sec from pace setter Jonathan Rea (Honda).

But Giugliano's best time was aided by an 'involuntary' tow from Checa and, following the confidence boost, the young Italian admits he now needs to run that pace alone.

"I had Carlos' help in putting together those fast laps and it looks like we have the potential to be fast," said the Superstock 1000 champion.

"Now I just need to go out and find consistency on my own, which is difficult as I don't yet have all the references. Anyway, we've worked hard and we'll see what happens tomorrow but today we leave the track very happy."

Althea Racing general manager Genesio Bevilacqua believes the time Giugliano gained wasn't all down to Checa.

"Today we identified a better setting with Davide after carrying out some final tests this morning but the key was selecting the most suitable tyre for him - this allowed Davide to put in a fantastic time that puts him in third place for now," he said.

"I have to say that Carlos also gave him an involuntary hand in making that fast lap but the performance was nevertheless strong."

Checa was fastest in morning practice, then fourth in QP1 after a fall.


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