Ten Kate Honda in provisional Supersport pole.
Chris Vermeulen took provisional pole in Friday's timed qualifying at Phillip Island with a brilliant display on his Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR.
With light rain falling intermittently at various parts of the circuit it was a difficult and even dangerous qualifying session for all the riders. Ten Kate Honda's own Karl Muggeridge was one of the victims of the conditions when he highsided at MG corner after a brief shower had left the track greasy in places. Karl had only managed to complete five laps when he crashed.
But while Muggeridge was being checked over and declared fit at the Medical Centre, his team mate -- and fellow Australian -- Chris Vermeulen waited until the last five minutes before lapping at 1m 36.161 to knock his championship rival Katsuaki Fujiwara off the provisional pole.
"It was raining in the session and the track was greasy in a few turns," explained Vermeulen. "I didn't want to fall early in the session, so I held back hoping that it would get better late in the session -- I would have been in trouble if it hadn't!"
His plan worked perfectly, Chris got in a fast lap and grabbed pole with just seconds left on the clock.
Team Manager Ronald Ten Kate had mixed feelings after the first qualifying session, "It's great to see Chris do so well here in his own country, but not so good watching Karl highside out of the session. But fortunately Karl isn't hurt and I'm sure he'll bounce back on Saturday.
"I am also pleased that so soon after taking delivery of the brand-new CBR600RR we already have such a great race-bike. But there's still plenty of refinements to do on the machine, so it can only get better."
<pre> World Supersport Championship Round 2, Phillip Island 28-29-30 March 2003.
Top Ten Fastest lap times:
1. C Vermeulen AUS Ten Kate Honda 1'36.161 2. K Fujiwara JPN Suzuki 1'36.531 3. J VD Goorbergh NED Yamaha 1'36.843 4. F Foret FRA Kawasaki 1'36.859 5. C Kellner GER Yamaha 1'36.971 6. P Riba ESP Kawasaki 1'37.022 7. I MacPherson GBR Honda 1'37.147 8. S Chambon FRA Suzuki 1'37.185 9. B Parkes AUS Honda 1'37.238 10. K Curtain AUS Yamaha 1'37.252
21. K Muggeridge AUS Ten Kate Honda 1'39.275