Fresh from finishing sixth and seventh on his World Superbike debut at Qatar, former MotoGP star Alex Barros made a further leap in performance during day one in Australia - qualifying his Klaffi Honda a provisional second.

The Brazilian, who started his debut WSBK season with virtually no testing due to a late deal, ended the day 0.403secs behind factory Ducati rider Troy Bayliss (whom he slipstreamed during his fastest lap) and "hopes to have a chance to win" on Sunday.

"I'm very happy," Alex told Radio after first qualifying in Australia. "The team did a very good job, I'm starting to understand how the machine works and I believe we can fix a few small problems tomorrow, we need to have a little bit more improvement to be with the top guys."

Barros, a winner of seven 500cc/MotoGP races during a mammoth premier-class career that lasted from 1990-2005, was then asked about his targets this weekend:

"I hope I can have the chance to win!" he smiled. "Qatar was just the first race, I didn't have any testing before and then only two hours in the dry, because the first day was wet. It was really difficult and Superpole is different - but now I understand a little bit more. I've had more time on the bike, you can see the lap times have improved, I'm much closer to the top guys. I hope to stay around the same place for Superpole - if I can start on the front row I'll be happy."

With one full weekend now under his belt, Barros was also able to compare the level of WSBK competitiveness compared with MotoGP.

"The level of racing is really good here," he said. "There are so many riders - in MotoGP there was only 18-20 but here there are a lot more - and for sure the top 15 riders are really great, and maybe the last 15 just don't have strong enough machinery. The gap between the best and worst lap time is also smaller than in MotoGP - partly due to using the same tyre. That makes this category a little bit more competitive."

Finally, Barros - who told in Qatar that he would only have his full specification bike ready at round three, in Valencia - was asked exactly what changes will be made to his Fireblade for the Spanish event.

"Engine," he replied. "Now I have basically a standard engine and I should have all engine work and full kit for Valencia - so I should be much stronger."