Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri gave little evidence of their Superpole 'virgin' status as they triumphed over more experienced rivals to get on the second row at Phillip Island.

The first time either rider has taken participated in a knockout qualifying format, both Laverty and Melandri took to the short sessions with aplomb as they edged into the SP3 grid decider.

Of the two, WSS graduate Laverty was quickest as he secured an excellent fifth position on the grid for what will be his much anticipated Superbike race debut.

"So far so good! I've really been enjoying the weekend so far; everything seems to be running really smoothly. We're still working on our set up for race distance but for the faster laps in qualifying it seems to have worked well.

"Superpole was a new experience for me, the qualifying tyres require quite a different style of riding so I think I'm yet to get the best out of them. Bring on tomorrow, I'm ready and really excited about seeing what we can do, I just hope it doesn't rain!"

Melandri's route to SP3 was rather more fraught as it took a last gasp effort for him to escape the SP1 drop before another late effort helped him squeeze into SP3. With no qualifier available for him to improve once in SP3, the former MotoGP rider was nonetheless pleased to claim eighth.

"Yesterday was a bad day for me, today was better but still difficult! The Superpole event was new for me, so I'm happy to be on the second row at the end. I really like it - it's like having three times qualifying so it's pretty nice.

"It was pretty tough initially as I've never tried the qualifying tyres before, so I had no time to get used to the way they feel. I'm more confident for the races now so we will see what happens tomorrow."

 

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