THIRD ROW FOR PATA HONDA DUO AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Leon Haslam at Phillip Island

Leon Haslam at Phillip Island

Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two first-round World Superbike championship races from eighth and ninth places on the grid respectively after today’s Superpole qualifying session at Phillip Island in Australia.

Under new-for-2013 regulations, riders will line up in rows of three on the grid for tomorrow’s two 22-lap races at the 4.45km circuit, placing both Pata Honda riders on the third row.

Haslam, 29, endured a frustrating day that saw him lose most of the earlier free practice session following a crash, and his allotted two qualifying tyres not giving him the extra performance that he expected.

Ulsterman Rea, meanwhile, continues to seek an optimum balance on his Honda CBR1000RR machine that will allow him to push for consistently fast laps in tomorrow’s races.

Leon Haslam

Leon Haslam

Leon Haslam – P8, 1m30.998s

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.

Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea – P9, 1m31.353s

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.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

The third row is not what we wanted or expected, so it’s been a disappointing day. We ran into some problems with the electronics and settings and Leon had a small crash earlier. That disrupted our tyre preservation plans quite a bit, but I think he did a good job to do that time on a race tyre, considering all the little problems he had. Jonathan also had some problems but he’s a little further off the pace and we have to try to find some modifications and new settings in warm-up tomorrow to give him back his confidence so he can fight for some decent positions in tomorrow’s races.

2013 World Superbike championship, round one – Phillip Island, Australia
Final qualifying results and first three rows:
1. Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 1m30.234s
2. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1m30.429s
3 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia 1m30.581s
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4. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m30.615s
5. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1m30.615s
6. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 1m30.683s
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7. Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki 1m30.991s
8. Leon Haslam (GBR) Pata Honda 1m30.998s
9. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Pata Honda 1m31.353s

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