Gregorio Lavilla will start on the front row of the grid for round 5 of the British Superbike Championship at Mondello Park. The Spaniard clocked a time of 1:38.482 to finish 3rd in qualifying, his Airwaves Ducati team mate, Leon Haslam, will start on the second row, in 6th, after qualifying with a time of 1:38.992.
Lavilla moved into first place early on in the qualifying session with a 1:40.058 lap, a faster time than his own lap record. Jonathan Rea set a new benchmark half an hour in when he rode a time of 1:38.862; he was quickly followed by five other riders, including Leon and Greg, who clocked sub 1 minute 39 lap times. The Airwaves Ducati riders were then setting themselves up to go out on their final qualifying tyres when a red flag halted the session. When qualifying resumed neither of the Airwaves Ducati team were able to improve on their times as Kiyonari rode a lap of 1:38.076 to take pole position and Shane Byrne clocked a late lap of 1:38.372 to take second place from Greg. Having had the red flag disrupt his qualifying lap Leon was unable to ride a faster time and finished in 6th.
After qualifying Leon Haslam said, "We get 4 tyres for qualifying and I had a problem straight away with my first so I was immediately down to 3, then I was planning on going out on my qualifying tyre but I had no chance to get a good time on it because of the red flag. It is frustrating because I think I could have knocked a second off of my time and maybe gone pole but I didn't get the opportunity. But we are looking good on race tyres and I am not too bothered about being 6th as I am feeling good for the race and I think I will be up there fighting for podium places."
With a front row start Gregorio Lavilla was satisfied with qualifying saying "Today worked well and I improved a lot this afternoon from this morning's practice. I am angry that on my last lap of qualifying I got held up by another rider as I was going for a fast time and I felt I could have improved, perhaps not got pole position but maybe 2nd. Anyway this is one of my least favourite tracks so it was important for me that I was on the front row and I am pleased that I achieved that."
Round 5 of the British Superbike Championship at Mondello Park commences tomorrow afternoon.
Shane 'Shakey' Byrne:
"My final qualifying lap was not so bad.All I can remember of the lap was coming down the finish straight and seeing my mechanics on the wall urging me on. I thought it had better be a good lap and it was. I was right on the limit, that's for sure.
"Well done to my team for giving me a great bike to ride. It's nice to be on the front row and that gives me the best chance for a decent start in tomorrow's races. The target is the podium or better."
"All weekend I have been working hard to get the feedback I want from my Rizla Suzuki and it didn't gel with me right until the qualifying session. We made some changes just before qualification and immediately I felt more comfortable. I could push harder and was able to get inside the top 10 on the grid.
"I wish there was another practice session before the races because we have made a breakthrough and I think we can make a lot more progress quickly. Now I know I can push the limits on my GSX-R1000 I'll be looking to fight my way through in the races."