Haslam on the front row!
2011 Superbike World Championship, round one Superpole qualifying report, Phillip Island, Australia.
The first Superbike World Championship Superpole qualifying of 2011 took place at Phillip Island circuit in Australia today and BMW Motorrad Motorsport new recruit Leon Haslam rewarded his team by qualifying his S 1000 RR on the front row for tomorrow’s two 22-lap races. His team-mate Troy Corser will start behind him on the second row. Pole position went to Spaniard Carlos Checa, who has been consistently fastest throughout testing and qualifying at Phillip Island.
A revised Superpole format means that only the 16 fastest qualifiers are allowed out on track for the first 14-minute session. The slowest four are then eliminated, leaving the fastest 12 to contest a 12-minute Superpole 2 session. Again, the slowest four riders are eliminated after this session, leaving just eight riders to battle for positions on the front two rows of the grid during Superpole 3.
Lack of dry testing showed for the BMW Motorrad Italia team, with James Toseland finishing SP1 in 15th position, meaning that he will start from row four tomorrow – one row in front of his team-mate Ayrton Badovini, who failed to ‘make the cut’ and will start tomorrow’s two races from the fifth row of the grid.
Last year’s race one winner Haslam and seven-times Phillip Island winner Corser both made it through Superpole 1 safely on their RRs, and both also improved their lap times in SP2, with Haslam (1:31.616) and Corser (1:32.005) comfortably quick enough to go through to SP3, in fourth and seventh place respectively.
The all-important SP3 saw both RR riders ‘in the mix’ for the final shootout for the front two rows. Haslam’s first flying lap was a superb 1:31.429 – good enough for provisional pole in the early stages, and certainly fast enough for a front row grid position, in front of Corser, who was seventh fastest in the final session.
Leon Haslam: “This is a great result. If someone had offered me a front row start two weeks ago I would have been over the moon, so for sure we are all really happy. The team has pulled together and worked hard to overcome the issues we have had so far this weekend and the end result has come at the right time. We have made good progress, but I still have a few areas I want to work on tomorrow before the races. Still, as a team we are confident that we have the pace to do well in the races tomorrow.”
Troy Corser: “We struggled at the start of the weekend with set-up but since then we have all worked really hard to make clear steps forward. Leon and I were having the same issues but collectively we found a solution and we both showed clear signs of improvement. In the last session I didn’t have a new qualifying tyre to go out on so I had to settle for a used one, but I cannot complain. Our race pace looks pretty good on paper but a lot depends on the temperature around here. On the whole I think we can all look forward to tomorrow.”
Rainer Baumel – Head of Race Operations – BMW Motorrad Motorsport: “The entire team has worked very hard over the course of the last few days. Today we can be satisfied, but at the same time we know that we are still a long way from where we want to be. We made some alterations to the chassis after yesterday’s sessions, which helped us a lot by improving the level of grip. Both Leon and Troy made it on to the front two rows so we are happy.”
Make sure you visit www.bmw-motorrad.com tomorrow to get the results and reactions from each race. Please visit www.bmwmotorrad.com/hospitality or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more details about BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s special VIP hospitality package, which is being offered at all European WSBK race weekends.
posted by motortradesolutions.net at 06:56