Andrea Locatelli marked his arrival in the WorldSSP Championship by taking pole position for his maiden race at Phillip Island.

The Italian, riding for the 2019 title winning BARDAHL Evan Bros Yamaha team, was locked in a tense battle with Randy Krummenacher for the top spot but it was the Locatelli that would emerge ahead by two tenths of a second.

A satisfying success for the former Moto2 rider, Locatelli’s lap record breaking performance on the new slick tyres prevented Krummenacher from getting one over on his old team as he prepares to start the defence of his WorldSSP title with the factory MV Agusta team.

Former champion Lucas Mahias made it three different manufacturers inside the top three aboard the new Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-6R, just ahead of Jules Cluzel, who shrugged off a big crash in FP3 to head up the second row.

Raffaele de Rosa added to MV Agusta’s strong day with a run to fifth position, with Philipp Oettl – another rider making the switch from Moto2 this year - qualifying sixth on his debut for Kawasaki.

Steven Odendaal gave Ten Kate Racing a noteworthy seventh position on its return to the WorldSSP fold. The Dutch outfit secured multiple titles as a factory Honda team during the 2000s, but this year returns to action as a satellite Yamaha outfit in line with its WorldSBK effort.

Isaac Vinales and Corentin Perolari followed up in eighth and ninth positions, ahead of Filippo Fulgini on the third of the factory MV Agustas.

Elsewhere, Can Oncu makes his debut from 11th position on the Turkish Racing Kawasaki with WorldSSP 300 Champion Manuel Gonzalez in 13th and sole British entrant Danny Webb in 14th.

Oli Bayliss, son of three-time WorldSBK Champion Troy Bayliss, starts 20th for his WorldSSP wild-card outing.

 

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