The Airwaves Ducati team achieved good results in today's free practice at the 2.692 mile Cheshire circuit. Leon Haslam rode consistently quick times on his 999F06 finishing 2nd fastest of the day. Gregorio Lavilla completed his day in 5th.
In the first 50 minute session Shane Byrne set the pace, he was closely followed by Haslam who set a time of 1:37.111, after completing 19 laps, to finish third. Lavilla completed 12 laps achieving a fastest time of 1:37.957.
In the afternoon Haslam was consistently quick early in the session, maintaining a lead over the rest of the field. He was eventually pushed into second place where he finished, with a best time of 1:36.551, only 8 thousandths of a second off 1st place. Gregorio Lavilla was able to complete more laps in second practice, achieving a fastest time of 1:37.260, resulting in a 5th place finish.
Gregorio Lavilla holds the lap record at Oulton Park but was finding it difficult to achieve times close to that in practice today. He commented, "We have been struggling to find the right settings for my bike today so we still have a lot of work to do. I don't feel as good as I did when I raced here last year and I was worried. However, I can see some light at the end of the tunnel, as towards the end of the second session today, my Airwaves Ducati felt much better. I am now confident that I can go much faster tomorrow."
Leon Haslam rates his first race here last year as a career favourite and is positive about this weekends racing. "Today has been really good for me. I am really happy with the bike, the settings are good and I am achieving my race times from last year so I am feeling confident. I have done all that I needed to do in today's sessions and its just about fine tuning for me now."
"It's great to be at the sharp end of the timesheets - we are still learning more about the Rizla Suzuki and getting quicker with every session.
"I made a change to the rear suspension on my bike with only a few minutes to go and I thought it made another improvement. That will be my starting point for practice and qualifying tomorrow. With a bit of luck we can keep this momentum going through the races on Monday."
"After two tough race meetings it feels really good to be so close to the top of the time sheets. Our test here last week has given us a lot to work with and that, combined with all the work the team has been doing, is showing some promising results.
"I am comfortable on the bike and made some minor changes through the day. I then sat down with my crew and we discussed a plan we think will cut the lap times further tomorrow. It's been a good first day for me and the team."
Round four of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park commences on Monday May 1st.
- 1: Shane Byrne (Suzuki) 1:36.543
- 2: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.008
- 3: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.046
- 4: James Haydon (Suzuki) +0.253
- 5: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.717
- 6: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +0.810
- 7: Michael Rutter (Honda) +0.920
- 8: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.974
- 9: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +1.069
- 10: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +1.328