The Airwaves Ducati duo today sealed their 36th front row start since they joined the GSE Racing team back in 2005. In this afternoon's 50 minute qualifying session Gregorio Lavilla recorded a best lap time of 1:25.477 to go 2nd on the grid. Leon Haslam will start from 4th having achieved a time of 1:25.813.
Having been the only rider to go under the 1minute 26 mark in morning practice Greg found his rhythm in the opening minutes of qualifying. With a new tyre rule meaning each rider is limited to 3 rear tyres for qualifying, both Greg and Leon chose to go out on a race tyre to start. Even with this Greg was able to clock a lap time of 1:25.943 on his 4th lap to take the lead. Leon was unfortunate to hit the gravel at Druids early on, temporarily delaying his progress in the session.
Greg and Leon both recorded their fastest times late on; Greg had held pole for a majority of qualifying until Jonathan Rea stole it away in the closing minutes. Greg then bettered his time with a lap of 1:25.477 but it was not enough to regain the top spot from Rea. Leon moved himself from 5th on the grid onto the front row with a time of 1:25.813 as the session drew to a close.
Both riders were happy with their front row starts for the first round; 4th placed Leon Haslam said, "I am happy enough, we had a few problems today but I am really happy that I was still able to get a front row start for tomorrow. It was close between the top few riders today so we look set for some good racing tomorrow."
Greg Lavilla, who will start from 2nd on the grid, was pleased with his days work saying, "Today was not too bad although it is a shame I was not able to achieve the pole position. I was on a soft race tyre for much of the session so to qualify where I have is a good result for me. My bike is set up really well for race tyres so I did not want to affect that by putting a qualifier on. I am pleased with the past two days but this is a good track for the Ducati 999F06's so a pole would have been good here but I am happy with 2nd. I am feeling confident so we will see what will happen in the races tomorrow."
"I am quite happy with fifth on the grid and with my Rizla Suzuki. I've been pleased with the feel of my GSX-R1000 right from the first session and it has got better and better every time I've taken it on track.
"My biggest issue now is choosing which tyre to use in the race. I still have very little experience with Dunlop tyres and will be relying heavily on my Chief Mechanic's advice on which rubber to choose. If we get it right, then I think I can challenge for the podium in the races."
"The issues I had with my brakes from yesterday have been sorted and my Rizla Suzuki is now doing exactly what I want it to do. Thank you to my crew for working so hard to give me the bike I want and need to be competitive.
"I am delighted to be starting from sixth place in my first Championship event. I aim to get away with the leaders tomorrow and try to match their pace and see what I can achieve from there."
Round one of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship starts tomorrow, Monday April 9th.
- 1) Jonathan Rea - HM Plant Honda - 1:25.235
- 2) Gregorio Lavilla - Airwaves Ducati - 1:25.477
- 3) Leon Camier - Bike Animal Honda - 1:25.739
- 4) Leon Haslam - Airwaves Ducati - 1:25.813
- 5) Chris Walker - Rizla Suzuki - 1:25.832
- 6) Cal Crutchlow - Rizla Suzuki - 1:25.999
- 7) Shane Byrne - Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport - 1:26.223
- 8) Ryuichi Kiyonari - HM Plant Honda - 1:26.278