Round 5 of the Bennetts British Superbike championship got underway at Snetterton today. Both Airwaves Ducati riders performed well, with Gregorio Lavilla achieving two 4th place finishes and Leon Haslam a 6th and a 3rd.
In the first of the two 50 minute sessions Greg took an early lead with a time of 1:06.200. Having had his time bettered Greg dropped to 2nd before a red flag halted the session. Following the interruption, Greg continued to post consistent times before recording his best time of the morning, 1:06.094 on lap 22 of 29. This resulted in a 4th place finish. Leon's times were sporadic during the first 20 minutes but got significantly faster towards the end. He set his fastest time of 1:06.499 on the final lap of practice putting him in 6th place.
Greg took the lead again at the start of second practice with a time of 1:05.777. The speed of the Honda's on the straights then started to show, and Greg was pushed down into 3rd with 25 minutes of the session remaining. Leon lapped consistently throughout the second half of practice, recording his fastest time of the day and his first under 1 minute 06 seconds, on lap 32 of 36. His time of 1:05.695 resulted in a 3rd place finish. Greg's set his best time of 1:05.711 on his penultimate lap of the session, to finish just behind his team mate in 4th.
"I am much happier this afternoon than this morning as I had some front suspension problems; it was nothing major but it meant I did not lap as fast as I had wanted to in first practice. On the whole it has been a good day but I am looking forward to tomorrow when I am hoping that I can get back to the kind of times I was doing last year."
"The day has gone well, this morning was good but as with Leon I felt much better this afternoon. As I have said before, it is a difficult circuit for us but I am pleased with how we have gone today, as we were running consistently fast. We have always known that the 4 cylinder bikes would be competitive here and that showed today, but it has also been really windy which has affected me too. The wind changed direction from this morning to this afternoon and that caused me to have a few big moments as my breaking distances changed a lot from the first to the second session. I think we can take confidence from today's performance but we will need to see what the weather does tomorrow, as that will play a big part in the qualifying results."
"My crash this afternoon was very fast - flat out in third gear through Coram corner - and I am lucky to have walked away unhurt. It was disappointing to crash when I did because my confidence and speed were both building steadily.
"I am focussing on tomorrow and putting the crash behind me. I feel as though there is quite a bit more performance to come from me and my Rizla Suzuki and think we can be competitive for the top six."
"At the end of the day we tried a different tyre and it helped to improve my lap times straight away and that gives us something to build on tomorrow morning in the final practice session.
"We made a few adjustments to my Rizla Suzuki this morning and then in the afternoon I spent time on track riding without any other distractions. While 10th is not where I want to be, we have made big strides today and if we can do the same tomorrow we'll be in the mix."
- 1: Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:05.149
- 2: Shane Byrne (Honda) +0.468
- 3: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.546
- 4: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.562
- 5: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +0.649
- 6: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.663
- 7: Leon Camier (Honda) +0.978
- 8: Tom Sykes (Honda) +1.027
- 9: Cal Crutchlow (Suzuki) +1.213
- 10: Chris Walker (Suzuki) +1.436