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BSB - Airwaves Ducati make a positive start to the final round at Brands Hatch
 
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BSB - Airwaves Ducati make a positive start to the final round at Brands Hatch - October 7th 2005


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    Free practice saw a very positive start to the 2005 Bennetts British Superbike Championship for the Airwaves Ducati team. Riders Leon Haslam and Gregorio Lavilla took the two fastest lap times in the both of today's free practice sessions, being the only two riders to go under 1minute 27 in both sessions.

    Leon Haslam, who has named Brands Hatch as one of the most enjoyable tracks for him to race on, notched up 27 laps in practice session one. Leon headed the table from the start of the session and was pushing for a lap time of under 1 minute 27 seconds from the start of the 50 minute session. It only took until lap 22 to clock a time of 1:26.817, just shy of the lap record of 1.26.755 held by Shane Byrne to take a stronghold on the top spot.

    Gregorio took the opportunity to use the first practice of the day to feel comfortable with his bike, coming into the pits twice to make minor adjustments, but still managing to clock a time of 1:27.512, 0.695 seconds behind his team-mate to take second position.

    Gregorio's challenger for the Bennetts British Superbikes title, Ryuichi Kiyonari crashed at Clearways 15 minutes from the end of the session resulting in a red flag for all riders forcing them to come into the pits. When the riders returned to the track the Airwaves Ducati team were able to hold onto the top two spots, finishing with Leon Haslam in first and Gregorio Lavilla in second with timings of 1:26.817 and 1:27.512 respectively.

    Free practice two was almost a carbon copy of the first with Leon heading straight to the top of the standings once again, clocking a time of 1.27.139 after 10 laps. Having come into the pits for the second time after 8 laps Gregorio was in 8th position and took the decision to swap to his other bike, which resulted in him pushing his way up into third with a time of 1.27.322.

    Leon was the first to break into the 1 minute and 26 second region, in second free practice, and after a few superb laps he subsequently broke the Brands Hatch GP lap record with an excellent lap time of 1.26.733, shaving two-hundredths of a second off of the old record. Leon's fastest time is something he attributes to knowing the track "I felt good and I was happy with the balance of the bike and I like the track, its feeling good."

    Greg soon followed suit with only a few minutes left before the session ended, he dipped under 1minute 27 seconds to finish in second place behind team-mate Leon Haslam with a time of 1.26.802. Afterwards he commented "The overall performance of the bike is good, the bike is feeling competitive, I have preferred this afternoon, the tyres and the ride felt better."

    Colin Wright Airwaves Ducati Team Manager was pleased with the teams efforts in free practice "It's been a good start but we still have a long way to go, of course we are happy to top the time sheets today but we must not be over optimistic, we need to qualify well tomorrow."

    Practice times:

  1. 1: Leon Haslam (Ducati) 1:26.733
  2. 2: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 1:26.802
  3. 3: Michael Rutter (Honda) 1:27.156
  4. 4: Glen Richards (Kawasaki) 1:27.215
  5. 5: Gary Mason (Honda) 1:27.434
  6. 6: Karl Harris (Honda) 1:27.569
  7. 7: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) 1:27.683
  8. 8: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 1:27.727
  9. 9: JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) 1:27.737
  10. 10: Jeremy McWilliams (Honda) 1:28.161