Airwaves Ducati got round 6 of the Bennetts British Superbike championship underway at a grey and wet Mondello Park. Leon Haslam came 9th in first 50 minute session and 4th in second practice, whilst team mate Gregorio Lavilla came 10th and 5th.
Both Airwaves Ducati riders used the very wet first practice to acclimatise to the conditions and test their wet settings, which have not been required so far this season. Greg completed 12 laps clocking his fastest time of 1:55.085 on lap 7. Leon Haslam completed 18 laps with his fastest time of 1:54.317 on lap 14.
The rain stopped and the track was continually drying for second practice resulting in a significant improvement in times. Greg recorded his quickest time of the day, 1:50.011, ten minutes from the end of the session; however on the following lap he slipped off and did not return to the track, resulting in a 5th place finish. Leon recorded his best time of 1:49.863 to finish 4th.
Following the second session Greg commented on his fall; "I was trying a different rear tyre and it was taking time to get used to, I went quicker into the corner and hit a bump or something and I just came off. It was a silly crash but I am fine, I knocked my left hand but it is nothing serious. The conditions were much better this afternoon and the track was continually drying, so after I crashed other people were able to go much faster. Overall I was pleased with my day as my times improved a lot from the morning to this afternoon. Even with the crash we were competitive so I am pleased with the bike and how I have performed today."
Leon was pleased with his results saying, "It was our first proper wet session of the year and we experimented with some new ideas with the electronics, which went well. My breaking and grip felt good and I am pleased with the Dunlop tyres. All in all it has been a good day and I am happy to have the opportunity to try our wet settings."
"I like Mondello Park and want to do well here. The weather has been tough with the rain, wind and cold, but it hasn't really bothered me. I only used a single rear tyre and worked on my lines and building my confidence in the wet.
"I think if we soften the fork springs it will help the wet handling on my Rizla Suzuki. I've also been testing a new electronic system to reduce backing-in and it's been impressive - we will refine it and I'm sure it will be a big help for the future."
"I am disappointed to have crashed at the end of the day when the track was a little drier than earlier. The good news is I am OK and reasonably comfortable with my wet weather settings.
"I am digging the circuit, I like it a lot and am enjoying riding here. Come rain or shine I'm looking forward to tomorrow and getting back on track again."
- 1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 1:48.336
- 2: Shane Byrne (Honda) +0.675
- 3: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +1.154
- 4: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +1.527
- 5: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +1.675
- 6: Karl Harris (Honda) +1.689
- 7: Cal Crutchlow (Suzuki) +1.908
- 8: Leon Camier (Honda) +2.551
- 9: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +3.339
- 10: Tom Sykes (Honda) +3.713
- 11: Chris Walker (Suzuki) +4.070