Hikari Okubo put in a strong showing to be top Kawasaki rider in the new look single session Superpole, in which all the riders compete for the best lap time in one 25 minute session. Their finishing position now confirms their grid position for the race directly.
Mahias, who is still learning the intricacies of his Kawasaki after several years competing for a different manufacturer, was held back in one of his attempts to set a fast lap, when another rider got in his way.
Lucas, the 2017 WorldSSP champion, was eventually ninth on the grid, meaning he will start Sunday’s two-part flag-to-flag race alongside his team-mate Hikari, from the third row.
Sunday’s WorldSSP race at the 4.445km long Phillip Island circuit will be held in two parts, under flag-to-flag rules, after concerns emerged about tyre life over a straight 18-lap contest. All riders must now enter the pits in the middle of the race to take on a new rear tyre and then race to the chequered flag from that point onwards.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “It was a very risky Superpole because a lot of riders stopped in front of me when I came up behind them. I am the fastest Kawasaki rider, and I am relatively satisfied with what I did in Superpole. The most important thing is that my race pace is good. So my target for tomorrow is the podium, even if it will be difficult. Thank you to the team for the good work.”
Lucas Mahias stated: “It is a difficult moment for me because I cannot push as hard as I would like. I tried my best in Superpole but I was not able to make a fast lap time. Me and the team are working hard but at the moment it is not coming as quickly as we would like. We will keep working toward the race tomorrow.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) finished 17th in Superpole, and regular rider Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 21st. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) placed 22nd, with the next challenge being the race itself on Sunday the 24th of February.