Leon Haslam will start from the front row of the grid for round 6 of the Bennetts British Superbike championship after qualifying in 3rd today. Gregorio Lavilla had a difficult day, qualifying in 12th place.
Throughout qualifying Leon was setting consistently quick times and battling for front row places with the Honda's. He recorded his fastest time of 1:48.534 towards the end of the session to finish 3rd. Greg did not get on terms with the fastest riders until the final minutes of the session when he looked to be on course for a fast time. However mid-way through the lap a red flag halted the session. With 2 minutes of qualifying remaining Greg was able to improve slightly setting a time of 1:51.464, resulting in a 3rd row start for tomorrow's race.
Having qualified on the front row for fifth time this season Leon was pleased with his performance saying, "I'm really happy with qualifying today, we knew that Michelin tyres would be strong here, so I am over the moon that I am the fastest Dunlop rider on the grid. We have done a lot of testing of tyres and electronics so we have good settings for a full wet race and also for intermediate conditions. It is going to be a tough race, if it is wet it will be interesting anyway, but if it is dry then it will be a gamble for everyone as none of us have been out on dry settings this weekend! I am feeling confident that I can put in a good performance in tomorrow's races."
Greg was clearly disappointed commenting, "I was just not fast enough! I am not feeling as good as I did yesterday; obviously the crash didn't help but otherwise I don't know why I did not go faster today. On the one lap where it looked as though I may record a fast time the session was red flagged. I went out in the final minutes but it was not possible to record a quick time. I was not feeling right, something was not perfect, so I was not fast - there is not much else I can say!"
Race one from round 6 of the Bennetts British Superbikes at Mondello Park starts at 12.45pm tomorrow followed by the second race at 15.45pm.
"That was a bit of a shame. I went back out towards the end of the session and I outbraked myself and let Kiyo go through and I thought I'd try to catch him back up to get a good time, so the first part of my plan worked, but there is a big bump around the back and the bike unloaded itself and spat me off over the top. It was a big crash but I'm OK which is the main thing, and looking forward to the races tomorrow."
"That was a bit of fun in the wet. At a couple of the corners I was spinning the rear sideways through puddles and smiling inside my helmet. All I did today was stay out and get a feel for the bike and tyres in the wet and it worked well as fifth is my best ever qualifying position in British Superbikes.
"I've always liked Mondello Park and can't wait to get racing. There's a lot of talk about the weather but I have no preference whether rain or sunshine; I have my target of getting in the top six to achieve."
"I am disappointed not to have qualified further up the grid but the head of the third row means at least I am starting on the best side of the track for entering the first corner.
"I like Mondello Park and have enjoyed riding here; even in the pouring rain it has been good. Qualifying is one thing but points are awarded only for the races and I'll be going for it."
"Overall, I'm happy enough with the second row. As long as you're on the first two rows you are in with a shout. I've had some little niggling problems all weekend and I feel it's slowed our momentum down but to be fair, there's still a bit to come from me. I'm sure we'll pull a decent result off once we get a few things sorted for tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it."
- 1. Jonathan Rea - HM Plant Honda 1:46.776
- 2. Ryuichi Kiyonari - HM Plant Honda 1:46.867
- 3. Leon Haslam - Airwaves Ducati 1:48.534
- 4. Karl Harris - Hydrex Honda 1:48.883
- 5. Cal Crutchlow - Rizla Suzuki 1:49.021
- 6. Shane Byrne - Stobart Vent Axia 1:49.172
- 12. Gregorio Lavilla - Airwaves Ducati 1:51.464