Hodgson and Xaus (Ducati Fila) third and sixth in Phillip Island Friday qualifying.
Team Ducati Fila riders Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus set third and sixth quickest times respectively in first qualifying for Sunday's Australian round of the World Superbike championship at Phillip Island as Pierfrancesco Chili (PSG-1 Ducati) and Regis Laconi (NCR Ducati) claimed the top two slots.
Neil's quick lap came in the final few minutes of the session when the 29-year old Brit posted a 1'34.273 around the 4.445 km circuit. "Today was quite difficult because we've only tested the 999 at Valencia and this track is as extreme opposite as you can get" commented Hodgson. "As we don't have any base marks, I'm using Valencia settings which I changed a lot after the first session. The bike is still a bit nervous at speed so we are trying to smooth things out by changing the settings to be more and more perfect on the line. My quick time came on a race tyre at the end of the session when we made a couple of changes and stayed out for more laps."
Ruben Xaus escaped unhurt from a high-speed crash at the entrance to turn 12 during qualifying, but stepped onto his second Fila Ducati 999 bike to post the sixth quickest time. "The bike this morning wasn't bad for the first time here" said Ruben, "but I thought it was moving around a lot so we changed direction in the afternoon and made the settings softer. But then I fell off after losing the front. We need to work a lot more on the bike, because the set-up is still not perfect. If tomorrow the grip is better than today, I'm sure Neil and I can both ride in a low 1'33" with race tyres. I used a qualifying tyre to set my time today but it is not as good as what I need for the race."
1. Chili (PSG-1 Ducati) 1'33.729
2. Laconi (NCR Ducati) 1'33.941
3. Hodgson (Ducati Fila) 1'34.273
4. Corser (Foggy Petronas) 1'34.508
5. Pedercini (Ducati) 1'34.572
6. Xaus (Ducati Fila) 1'34.585
7. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) 1'34.661
8. Borja (Ducati DFX) 1'34.760
9. Lavilla (Suzuki) 1'34.811
10. Walker (HM Plant Ducati) 1'34.906
TV COVERAGE: Eurosport (Pan-European) - Sunday 30 March: Race 1 0615-0715 CET (delayed), Race 2 0715-0830 (live). RaiDue (Italy) - Sunday 30 March: Race 1 0155-0345 CET (live), Race 2 0525-0700 CET (live) - subject to confirmation.