JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam smashed the outright British Superbike record around Donington Park in this afternoon’s superpole session, stealing it from his title rival Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne.
All nine riders in superpole were under the lap record, showing the blistering pace that is being produced this weekend, although Haslam did admit after his lap record he has been quicker around his native Donington.
“I’ve been a lot quicker in World Superbikes but it’s the fastest I’ve been around here without any electronics, and obviously no qualifier tyre,” said Haslam. “The soft tyre was definitely a big step, it took more than one lap to come to me.
“My superpole lap was for me on the cautious side, I think the next lap would have been quicker without the mistake at the hairpin. I’m happy, it’s pole position and the fastest ever BSB lap around here.”
Haslam ran the softer compound SC0 in qualifying, giving him optimum grip levels throughout his lap, however when quizzed if he will run the same choice in the two races tomorrow, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ remained tight lipped.
“It’s all about the track temperature, we haven’t done the distance that the other guys have, so I have some data from James and Pete.
“At the minute the hard tyre runs I have been doing are really competitive from half race distance onwards, so we need to be looking at maybe improving the set-up for the harder tyre for the first half of the race, or trying to make the softer last for the second half.
With Haslam’s title rival sitting right beside him on the grid for tomorrow’s first race, it looks set to be the Haslam and ‘Shakey’ show, and the 33-year-old agreed, but admitted it all comes down to tyre choice.
“I think so, looking at the runs he has done it again will come down to the tyres we choose and the plan of attack we take, and that will determine on what the track temperature is. I think if I am within a second of him with eight laps to go then I’ll feel confident that we can win.”
The outside of the front row sees Haslam team mate James Ellison sit in third, with Luke Mossey in fourth and Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon alongside him in fifth.
Dan Linfoot sits sixth with Bennetts Suzuki man Tommy Bridewell in seventh, with Jason O’Halloran and Peter Hickman rounding out the top nine.