The first World Superbike Championship Superpole session of the 2012 season has been cancelled after a serious accident during the preceding Australian Supersport/Superstock claimed the life of one of its competitors.
The incident occurred during the early stages of the race, with a multi-bike collision involving a number of riders. Among those involved was Oscar McIntyre, who was fatally injured in the tragic accident.
An official statement from the Australian MA said:
"Motorcycling Australia and PI SBK Pty Ltd can confirm that Queenslander Oscar McIntyre has died following an incident during the opening round of the 2012 Superstock 600cc Championship race at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit this afternoon.
"McIntyre, 17, was immediately tended to by medical personnel after the incident, but his injuries proved to be fatal.
"The crash, which also involved two other riders, occurred on lap two of the scheduled 12-lap race at approximately 2.00pm AEDT. It occurred between turns two and three.
"The other riders involved were Luke Burgess and Michael Lockhart. Burgess has now been released from the circuit's medical centre and Lockhart remains under observation with non life-threatening injuries.
"An investigation is currently underway and MA will release any further information as it comes to hand via the MA website.
"Motorcycling Australia and PI SBK Pty Ltd offer their sincerest condolences to the McIntyre family and those affected within the motorcycle community."
Superpole had been due to get underway at 15.00 local time, but having been delayed by more than an hour as medical teams and police worked on the scene, the decision was eventually taken to cancel it altogether.
It means the grid positions will be determined by the results at the end of Q2, which means Kawasaki's Tom Sykes will start the opening round from pole position, ahead of Max Biaggi, Carlos Checa and Jakub Smrz.
Crash.net wishes to extend its condolences to Oscar's family and friends.