Joint series leader Max Biaggi finished with the sixth fastest time of the day, just ahead of team mate Yukio Kagayama, who had a heavy crash in the afternoon session is unlikely to take any further part in proceedings.
At first, it was suspected that Kagayama had broken his left collarbone, a few ribs and damaged his spleen in the process. But after he was helicoptered to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, there was some doubt about the extent of his injuries, so the medics there decided to carry out further tests. All hopes are that the injuries are not as bad as originally thought.
James Toseland (Honda) set the day's quickest time with a lap of 1:32.040, easily inside the lap record set by Troy Bayliss (Ducati) last year. Bayliss is second fastest today with Fonsi Nieto (Kawasaki) third and Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) fourth.
Max Biaggi - 6th, 1:32.900:
"Today was ok and we tried a few things to get the bike working the way I wanted. We began with the bike more or less set up as in Qatar and then tried to improve it. I felt we were losing a little time in all the sectors so we tried some smaller discs in the first session. But the pads didn't get up to temperature, so we had to change back to the bigger discs for the afternoon qualifying session.
"Today we were using a Qatar engine and it didn't feel very strong, but tomorrow we'll put in a fresh engine. I also focussed on getting the right tyres for the races on Sunday so today's lap times weren't so important. I think that, whatever tyres we use, we'll all be having problems seven or eight laps before the end of the race.
"Phillip Island is a great track, but it's very demanding on tyres because there are many left turns and not many rights. That means one side of the tyre wears quicker then the other so you have to be careful and try and conserve the tyres the best you can.
"I really like the SBK two-race formula because you get a second chance if something happens in one of the races. At first I didn't know if my physical condition would be ok for two races but it's been fine and I'm looking forward to Sunday's races and a big fight on the track."
Yukio Kagayama - 7th, 1:33.154:
"I lost the front in turn two and crashed. Very painful! I felt I had been run over by a truck! Maybe my collarbone is broken and there is pain in my spleen area so I am going to hospital for many checks. I hope I can rejoin my team before long. Good luck to Max in the races!"
Friday Qualifying: 1 Toseland (GB-Honda) 1:32.040, 2 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati) 1:32.641, 3 Nieto (E-Kawasaki) 1:32.769, 4 Lanzi (I-Ducati) 1:32.774, 5 Corser (Aus-Yamaha) 1:32. 900, 6 Max Biaggi (I-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:32.998, 7 Yukio Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:33.154, 8 Haga (J-Yamaha) 1:33. 244, 9 Xaus (E-Ducati) 1:33.315, 10 Neukirchner (D-Suzuki) 1:33.523.