As one of the few riders on the grid to have stayed put over the winter, Jakub Smrz is certain his familiarity of the Guandalini Ducati helped him towards a provisional pole position in Australia

The Czech rider has not been a consideration in many people's predictions ahead of this year's championship, but was good enough during provisional qualification to take his customer 1098 RS to the top of the pile in the final seconds.

Benefitting from riding a bike that he claims is '95 per cent' similar to what he took to a number of top ten results in 2008, Smrz was still a surprise to win pole position having languished well outside the top ten during free practice.

Nonetheless, having described Phillip Island as one of his favourite circuits, Smrz was delighted to be causing a stir already.

"For me, Phillip Island is almost the best circuit in the world," he said. "It is easy for me to make a good lap here.

"The bike is a good bike and 95% similar to last year's so I have been able to get on the pace very quickly. For sure, I have a lot of confidence with the tyre, even in these hot conditions."



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