Jonathan Rea made it two from two as the Kawasaki rider qualified on pole position for Sunday’s inaugural World Superbike round in Thailand.
Rea set the fastest lap at the Chang International Circuit in 1m 33.382s to edge out Red Devils Roma Aprilia’s Leon Haslam (1m 33.393s), with the front row completed by Alex Lowes on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, who lapped in 1m 33.738s.
Northern Ireland rider Rea, who is the joint leader of the championship after taking victory and a runner-up finish on his debut for Kawasaki at Phillip Island in February, said: “It’s good to make it two out of two. We know the Kawasaki really takes profit from a soft tyre, especially the qualifier. My pace has been really strong all weekend in race conditions so I knew just to make clean laps in Superpole.
“But in every lap I made a mistake in T4 - the fast left - so I ended up much too fast and the rear came round, which is a problem I have been working on a little bit. We found some things after we struggled with my back brake at times but we fixed it in this final session,” he added.
“I was able to enter T5 much better. I made a mistake in T1 on the first flying lap and then I saw the time was P1, so I knew not to push too much and just make a clean lap next time. I saw a 1’33.3 near the end of the session and I thought it may not be enough, so I tried again on the third lap with a qualifier, but already the tyre had enough.”
Row two is headed up by Rea’s team-mate Tom Sykes, series rookie Jordi Torres (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Ducati’s Chaz Davies.
Troy Bayliss, who is standing in for the injured Davide Giugliano, was seventh fastest (Ducati) followed by Pata Honda’s Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoli, who completed row three.