The reigning World Champion posted a time of 1:34.920 on his Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra GSX-R1000, which was just over a tenth-of-a-second under the lap record.
Team mate Yukio Kagayama posted the fifth fastest time, but the big surprise of the day was Fabien Foret who managed to get into the top 10 for the first time: Foret was ninth quickest until the closing stages, but was pushed down to 10th by a late charge by Fonsi Nieto (Kawasaki).
Troy Corser - 1st, 1:34.920:
“I’m pretty happy at this stage and it’s always good to top the standings. I liked the balance of the bike today and a lot of that was down to the work we did in the last two tests. Saturday we’ll try a few different ideas to try and improve tyre life and reduce rear wheel spin. When the conditions are a little cooler - like this afternoon - the grip is better, but then of course tyre life is worse, so we’ll see what we can improve upon. “
Yukio Kagayama - 1:35.670:
“Today was a so-so day, but it was a good so-so day. I’m not so happy with fifth because I would’ve preferred a top four finish instead. But we have another day of qualifying - and Superpole on Saturday. I met some traffic on my fast lap. Otherwise I would’ve been on the provisional front row for sure. There are a couple of points on the track where I need to improve, but if I can sort them out, I think I can make the podiums.”
Fabien Foret - 10th, 1:356.026:
“My good lap could’ve been better, but I saw a yellow flag and had to ease the pace a little. But I’m happy to finish in the top 10 anyway and I think it is a very positive result for me. Saturday we’ll work on suspension and the injection system and see if we can improve the bike. My feeling with it is now more comfortable and I enjoyed myself today.”
Friday Qualifying: 1 Troy Corser (Aus- Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:34.920, 2 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati) 1:34.963, 3 Martin (Aus-Petronas) 1:35.653, 4 Haga (J-Yamaha) 1:35.658, 5 Yukio Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:35.670, 6 Xaus (E-Ducati) 1:35.721, 7 Abe (J-Yamaha) 1:35.974, 8 Lanzi (I-Ducati) 1:35.999, 9 Nieto (E-Kawasaki) 1:36.004, 10 Fabien Foret (F-Alstare Engineering Corona Extra) 1:36.026.