|Haslam ended up putting in his best lap on a race tyre
Pata Honda riders, Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea will both start tomorrow’s World Superbike races at Phillip Island, from the 3rd row of the grid in 8th and 9th place, respectively.
Haslam has shown decent form throughout the past week, starting off the official race weekend with a 2nd place in the opening session. He was feeling more and more comfortable on the Honda throughout QP1, and in QP2 was less than 8 tenths off the top of the standings, in 7th. After some mechanical issues in Superpole 1 and 2, Haslam suffered further difficulties in Superpole 3, with what was believed to be a ‘duff’ qualifying tyre. Though after changing to another qualifying tyre, the team found it was not an anomaly, with the second tyre giving equal grief on track to the Englishman.
“Superpole was a bit of a disaster, actually. We had a few issues in Superpole 1 and didn’t quite get it sorted. In Superpole 2 we had a misfire problem but managed to solve it and get out on a race tyre with about a minute to go, which just got me through. The qualifier just didn’t work but we thought it might have been a bad one so went out for Superpole 3 on the second one, but it was exactly the same. I was slower on the Q but all I had left was an old race tyre and that’s what I had to do the lap on. I was quite happy with that but disappointed with the other problems. We were trying something new with traction control in free practice and it kind of low-sided me off which was really strange. We lost most of that session so missed some track time when we wanted to try some things, but I’m not too worried. The feeling’s good, we just haven’t tested everything that we wanted.” Said Haslam, after finishing 0.764s off Checa’s pole lap, today.
‘Read more’ to see what Rea had to say on today’s performance.
Jonathan Rea had problems of a different nature with his CBR1000rr, it seems the Ulsterman’s progress throughout the weekend has been hindered by lack of development with the new electronics package, in comparison with other bikes on the grid. Tyres have also been a problem for Rea and he’s still looking to find the distance in the Pirelli’s to give him consistency for tomorrow’s race. Time spent developing the electronics has meant that Rea and his crew lost vital time in finding the setup for optimum tyre preservation, in tomorrow’s races. The Irishman finished one and a half seconds off Checa’s time, but is confident that he and the crew can find something for tomorrow to stub out these issues and get good results under his belt. “We’re not where we wanted to be because we had a lot of hopes and expectations that the changes to the bike over the winter would have given us a step forward. Compared to our competitors, we’re still in a relatively early stage of developing this new electronics package and, for now, it’s not really consistent enough to give me the confidence to push. That has also limited the amount of time we’ve been able to spend on finding some distance for the tyre and that’s still a concern for tomorrow’s races. My frustration is showing in my riding and we’ve struggled to move forward. I do have confidence in my crew though, and their determination to keep searching for something that will allow us to get something out of tomorrow’s two races. We’ll look through everything again tonight and come back relaxed in the morning ready hopefully to enjoy two 22-lap races.”