Jonathan Rea was denied the chance to qualify higher than eighth position on the grid for the opening round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island after suffering an off during Q2.
The Honda rider, who was fastest in Friday's Q1 session, slid off the track at MG and, because of new regulations stipulating no spare bikes, subsequently lost time as his team attempted to repair the damaged machine.
With Superpole going on to be cancelled following the tragic death of Oscar McIntyre during the preceding Australian Superstock race, Rea had to be content with his best lap time from Q1, placing him eighth on the grid.
Suggesting it will be difficult to challenge for the win from the back end of the second row, Rea is nonetheless satisfied with his bike's race pace.
“On my side of the box, everything's been going OK,” he said. “We had a slip off this morning at MG and lost a bit of time which put us in a bad rhythm in Qualifying 2. But in free practice we got the rhythm again, did another long run on a tyre which worked OK.
“I was quite happy with the pace we had on it and basically I think I'm ready for the race. It's going to be a big task to win tomorrow, but our goal is still to be on the podium, and it has been since we got here. The guys have given me a good bike to ride and we've been concentrating on getting it to lap 22 in good shape. We'll see tomorrow and I'm as excited as anyone to see the result.”
Rea's team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama, meanwhile, continued his troubled initiation to WSBK racing as he could only manage 17th position on the grid.
We were expecting a little bit more progress today but had some problems with braking and corner exit, especially at the last corner and turn 11. It seems that we couldn't improve so much, and although in qualifying we improved the lap time a little, it was not enough.
“Position 17 is not ideal for us but we'll see tomorrow, when I hope the feeling with the bike will change a little bit and let me push more on the corner exit. This afternoon the ground temperature went to 55 or 60 degrees, which made things worse for our programme and it wasn't easy to ride in those conditions.
“It's possible tomorrow will be even hotter than today, so we will have to consider this, too. It's going to be the first time for me with two Superbike races in one day so I want to see what it is like and try my best.”