The Airwaves Ducati team made a promising start to the second round at Donington Park in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Gregorio Lavilla will start tomorrow's race on pole position with his team mate also on the front row in third.
The mornings free practice session allowed the team to overcome the technical issues suffered on the first day of practice to finish in first and fourth place. The 2005 BSB champion, Lavilla, was consistently fast and top of the standings for much of the 50 minute session, setting his fastest time of 1:32.036 on his penultimate lap. Leon Haslam set his quickest lap of 1:32.929 on lap 15 to finish fourth behind Rea and Byrne.
Over the lunch time break rain fell but by the time qualifying commenced the circuit was declared dry. Lavilla moved into first place after 5 laps and remained there for the rest of the session, setting a quickest lap of 1:31.542 on lap 19 to secure pole. On lap 20 Haslam moved up into second behind his team mate with his fastest time of 1:32.289 which was bettered in the final minutes by Karl Harris to move the Airwaves Ducati rider to third.
Gregorio explained "It was lucky for us to have dry practice today as we had some problems yesterday. We now know we are fastest on race tyres. Obviously, I am very happy to be on pole especially as it is my second in a row. I am pleased with how it has gone today and I am confident for tomorrow but I am hoping that it will be dry."
Fourth placed Leon Haslam said "I am pleased with how we qualified today, I am slightly behind on last year's times but I am confident that I can get a podium finish tomorrow."
The Airwaves Ducati team manager Colin Wright added, "After yesterday's issues I was confident the team could pull things round and put us in a good position on the grid. I am very pleased the guys dug deep and helped Greg & Leon start on the front row. Our focus must now be to gain points in both races tomorrow".
"We had to go backwards to go forwards today. In the practice session we tried some changes to the suspension to give more feel from the front end of the bike but it had the opposite effect. In the afternoon we reverted to yesterday's settings with some minor changes and the bike was much better.
"I was held up in qualifying but still managed to get on to the second row. We'll try a couple of changes in warm up in the morning and hopefully that will help us improve further."
"To be blunt I am furious I didn't get to complete an uninterrupted qualifying lap. No matter what I tried or how big a gap I had in front of me I ended up catching someone who held me up.
"The head of the third row gives me a good line into the first corner so I'll make the most of that. My pace on race rubber is quick and if I can get a good start then I have a chance to try and follow the leaders and see what I can do from there."
BSB Qualifying Results
- 1: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 1:31.542
- 2: Karl Harris (Honda) 0.539
- 3: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.747
- 4: Michael Rutter (Honda) +0.809
- 5: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.811
- 6: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.889
- 7: Michael Laverty (Honda) +0.954
- 8: James Haydon (Suzuki) +1.113
- 9: Shane Byrne (Suzuki) +1.152
- 10: Craig Coxhell (Kawasaki) +1.637