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Rea returns to pole position as WorldSBK 2019 starts

Jonathan Rea takes the first pole position of the 2019 World Superbike championship after seeing off the challenge from both Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista

Full qualifying results from Phillip Island

Jonathan Rea has secured the first pole position of the 2019 World Superbike championship after seeing off the challenge from both new Kawasaki teammate Leon Haslam and Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista.

The reigning World Superbike champion produced a new lap record of 1m 29.413s to grab provisional pole position with four minutes of qualifying remaining which none of his rivals could touch.

Haslam’s 1m 29.624s went closest, albeit over two-tenths off Rea, to see the 2018 British Superbike champion take second spot on the grid on his World Superbike return.

Despite leading the pre-season test and practice times at the Australian circuit, Bautista had to settle for the final spot on the front row, 0.316s off Rea’s pole time, on both his and the Ducati V4 R’s debut.

Tom Sykes impressed on the new BMW’s debut to take fourth place in qualifying ahead of Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes and World Superbike rookie Sandro Cortese on the GRT Yamaha.

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Michael van der Mark heads up row three for Pata Yamaha ahead of Barni Ducati’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi and double winner at Phillip Island from 12 months ago Marco Melandri on the GRT Yamaha.

Leon Camier secured 10th place on the new-look Moriwaki Althea Honda in front of Irishman Eugene Laverty for Go Eleven Ducati.

Chaz Davies continued to struggle for the factory Ducati squad qualifying down in 16th place, 2.1s off Rea’s pole position time, while former World Superbike race-winner Ryuichi Kiyonari qualified 17th on his return to the series with Honda.

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