Haslam with Suzuki on the Front Row at Portimao Superbike

Team Suzuki Alstare’s Leon Haslam will start tomorrow’s second round of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao in Portugal from the front row of the grid after a dramatic Superpole 3 - which saw the lead change hands several times in the 10-minute session.

In the end, Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) took Superpole with a lap of 1:42.092; almost one-and-a-half seconds inside the lap record. Second was Max Biaggi (Aprilia), with Carlos Checa (Ducati) third and Haslam fourth.

Team-mate Sylvain Guintoli just missed out on a second-row spot on the grid and will start on the third row.

Leon Haslam - 4th, 1:42.596:

“I’m really happy with the race set-up of my bike, but I’m a little unhappy that I didn’t get my qualifying tyres to work as well in Superpole: I think I would’ve gone faster in Superpole 3 if I had used a race tyre, but the front row of the grid is OK. The track’s grip has improved since yesterday and I was consistently able to do 1:42s on race rubber, so I’m feeling very positive about the races tomorrow. Today, when the track temperature was higher, the grip was not as good, but that happens quite often.

“In tomorrow’s warm-up, we’ll run back-to-back tests with both bikes, with just small adjustments to see if we can improve further. There were no dramas for me today really, except one time when I was on a fast lap and got baulked by Max Biaggi. Otherwise everything is OK and I’m looking forward to getting two good starts and two good finishes tomorrow.”

Sylvain Guintoli - 9th, 1:42.984:

“I’m happy with my bike set-up, but not so happy with my position in Superpole. I should’ve gone faster in Superpole one, when I was on race tyres, but for some reason I didn’t. Now I know I’ve got a lot of work to do - and make especially good starts if I am to get good results.

“I struggled in some parts of the track today and although all of them are not sorted out completely, the main problem area has been solved. I don’t think we’ll make any changes to the bike in the warm-up tomorrow. The bike feels good, so the rest is up to me!”
Final qualifying and Superpole: 1 Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha) 1’42.092, 2 Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia) 1’42.513, 3 Checa (ESP-Ducati) 1’42.586, 4 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare) 1’42.596, 5 Rea (GBR-Honda) 1’42.428, 6 Smrz (CZE-Ducati) 1’42.889. 9 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare) 1:42.984.
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