Former World Superbike champion John Kocinski is finally getting comfortable with his Vance & Hines Ducati 996 Superbike and it's starting to show.
Kocinski won the provisional pole for Sunday's AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship race at the Colonel's Brainerd International Raceway on Friday. He clocked a lap of one minute, 36.457 seconds at 111.976 mph on the three-mile, 10-turn circuit. heading up a tightly bunched group of qualifiers.
Defending series champion Mat Mladin, of Australia, was second fastest with a 1:36.561 (111.846 mph) on a Yoshimura Suzuki, followed by Canadian Miguel Duhamel, 1:36.826 (111.540 mph) on a Honda, and Georgia rider Aaron Yates who turned a time of 1:36.845 (111.518 mph) on a Suzuki.
Kocinski's excellent qualifying performance was somewhat surprising considering Kocinski hasn't raced at Brainerd since 1989 and last rode a Superbike there in 1984 when was just 16. Ducati called the native of Little Rock, Ark., out of retirement in May to replace Australian Troy Bayliss, who was moved up to race for Ducati in the World Superbike Championships.
Kocinski's best finish since returning to competition was fourth in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Provisional qualifying results Friday for the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championships on the three-mile Colonel's Brainerd International Raceway with rider, hometown or country, make of motorcycle and qualifying
speed (qualifying continues Saturday):
1. John Kocinski, Costa Mesa, Calif., Ducati, 111.967.
2. Mat Mladin, Australia, Suzuki, 111.846.
3. Miguel Duhamel, Canada, Honda, 111.540.
4. Aaron Yates, Milledgeville, Ga., Suzuki, 111.518.
5. Eric Bostrom, Las Vegas, Kawasaki, 110.867.
6. Steve Rapp, Lafayette, Calif., Ducati, 110.701.
7. Doug Chandler, Salinas, Calif., Kawasaki, 110.651.
8. Nicky Hayden, Owensboro, Ky., Honda, 110.599.
9. Jamie Hacking, Boiling Springs, S.C., Yamaha, 110.384.
10. Jason Pridmore, Ventura, Calif., Suzuki, 110.164.
11. Larry Pegram, Baltimore, Ohio, Ducati, 110.069.
12. Pascal Picotte, Canada, Harley-Davidson, 109.864.
13. Scott Russell, Conyers, Ga., Harley-Davidson, 108.461.
14. Tommy Hayden, Owensboro, Ky., Yamaha, 108.454.
15. Jimmy Moore, Eugene, Ore., Suzuki, 106.977.
16. Damon Buckmaster, Australia, Suzuki, 106.533.
17. Roger Lee Hayden, Owensboro, Ky., 106.463.
18. Mike Ciccotto, Sebastien, Fla., Suzuki, 104.928.
19. Shane Clarke, Overland Park, Kans., Suzuki, 104.538.
20. Tripp Nobles, Macon, Ga., Harley-Davidson, 104.257.
21. Andrew Deatherage, Cleveland, Suzuki, 103.578.
22. Robert Jensen, Wheatland, N.D., Suzuki, 103.154.
23. Randall Mennenga, Freeport, Ill., Suzuki, 102.756.
24. Roger Hendricks, Ham Lake, Minn., Suzuki, 102.315.
25. John Jacobi, Carmel, Ind., Suzuki, 102.220.
26. Jeffrey Purk, Des Moines, Iowa, Suzuki, 101.768.
27. Rob Bowerman, Jr., Canada, Suzuki, 101.577.
28. Dean Mizdal, Huntington Beach, Calif., Suzuki, 100.886.
29. Eric Erling Haugo, Flagstaff, Ariz., 100.742.
30. Mike Walsh, Canada, Yamaha, 99.884.
31. Gregory White, Marietta, Ga., Suzuki, 99.794.
32. Jacob Holden, Puyallup, Wash., Suzuki, 99.574.
33. Michael Barnes, Boca Raton, Fla., Suzuki, 93.914.
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