The Airwaves Ducati riders secured their seasons 3rd one-two on the grid at Snetterton today, qualifying with two of the fastest times ever seen at the 1.952 mile Norfolk circuit. Impressively the Airwaves Ducati riders were the only two competitors to set times under 1 minute 05 seconds.
Leon Haslam demonstrated his ability around this circuit by dominating this mornings' final free practice session; setting a lap time 0.391 seconds faster than his closest competitor. After coming off during practice yesterday the 2005 British Superbike Champion, Gregorio Lavilla, admitted to being behind schedule going into today's 2 sessions. However after some hard work and final adjustments in this mornings' practice he was able to complete some laps on Dunlop race tyres before qualifying.
Haslam again held the top spot for much of qualifying and he was lying in 1st place, having used 3 of his 4 tyres, with 22 minutes of qualifying left. Then on his 18th lap, Haslam set the fastest time ever seen on two wheels at Snetterton, 1:04.500. Lavilla was also setting fast times and he was the only other rider to go under 1 minute 05 clocking a time of 1:04.929, securing the second spot behind his team mate.
After qualifying Gregorio Lavilla said, "After yesterday's problems I was not feeling that great this morning, but we did some good work on the bike and I went back to basic settings so this afternoon I felt much better. I am still not 100% happy as I needed more time really. Leon has been riding so well over the whole weekend and to get closer to him I would have needed to have a perfect bike and, after yesterday, I didn't quite have that. I am very pleased with second on the grid and I am looking forward to tomorrow's race."
With his 3rd pole position of the season Leon Haslam commented, "We are really pleased with how things have gone today. We managed 2 or 3 race runs and we are looking good for the race tomorrow. Snetterton seems to suit the Ducati 999F06, but we know tyres will be crucial for the races as it is going to be hot. I am really happy with the pole position but now I want to convert my qualifying results into race results."
Team manager Colin Wright said, "Again Leon and Greg have worked hard to achieve their grid positions here but we are still conscious of the fact Kiyo is on form and we know he'll play a part in tomorrow's races. At this stage of the season it is important to stay focused and score points at every opportunity and I know Greg and Leon will do everything possible to help the Airwaves Ducati team achieve this."
"My Rizla Suzuki is feeling good and it is very fast along the straights. We have tried a few minor modifications and tyres that have slowly improved the bike and I have also got used to riding and compensating for my weak left shoulder.
"Tomorrow I will have an injection of pain killers before each race and hope that will help me. If I can get away with the front runners I know the bike has the pace to stay with them and towards the end of the race hopefully I can challenge for good results."
"I struggled to get up to speed in the qualifying session. I could really have done with reducing my times quickly and then concentrating on qualifying but I am still learning about the bike and couldn't push any faster any earlier.
"On my final qualifying lap I had to overtake several slower riders but it was still good enough for 12th. It would have been nice to have completed the lap unhindered to see where I could have finished. I want to get away with the top 10 riders tomorrow and have a dice with them. The more I ride the bike the more familiar it is and the faster I am riding, so I am looking forward to the races."
John Reynolds, Triple British Superbike Champion:
"James is riding with an injury and is no where near fully fit so to take seventh on the second row is a good achievement. He hasn't taken any pain killers yet and has been saving them for the races and that will help him to be even more competitive and stick with the front runners tomorrow.
Round 7 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place tomorrow, Sunday 18th June.
- 1) Leon Haslam - Airwaves Ducati, 1:04.500
- 2) Gregorio Lavilla - Airwaves Ducati, 1:04.929
- 3) Ryuichi Kiyonari - HM Plant Honda, 1:05.020
- 4) Tommy Hill - Virgin Mobile Yamaha, 1:05.306
- 5) Karl Harris - HM Plant Honda, 1:05.398
- 6) Michael Rutter - Stobart Motorsport, 1:05.443