Championship leader Leon Haslam sits on provisional pole after the first session of qualifying for the World Superbike class at Portimao, the Alstare Suzuki rider continuing his strong start to the season and the second round of WSBK. The young Briton jumped to the top of the timesheets with 10 minutes to go, taking provisional pole from his fellow countryman Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow.
Indeed, British riders dominated much of the session, with the top 4 all hailing from Albion for the second half of practice, with only occasional forays by Michel Fabrizio and Carlos Checa disrupting British dominance. But by the end of the session, the two Ducatis had driven a wedge between the Brits, Max Biaggi joining Fabrizio and Checa to take 4th. The two Sterilgarda Yamahas finished in 5th and 6th, with James Toseland just getting the better of his young teammate Cal Crutchlow, while Shakey Byrne on the other Althea Ducati took 7th place ahead of the Pata S&G bike of Jakub Smrz.
The one no-show during qualifying was Kawasaki rider Chris Vermeulen. The Australian had taken one lap during free practice earlier in the day, before deciding that his knee injury was still not sufficiently recovered to withstand the punishment that the Portuguese circuit's rollercoaster layout dishes out to riders. Vermeulen is likely to be forced to skip the rest of the weekend's activity.
A second session of qualifying tomorrow morning will decide who goes through to Superpole in the afternoon, before the final grid is settled during the three-session Superpole shootout.
Results of the first qualifying practice session for the World Superbike class at Portimao:
|1||91||L. Haslam||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1'43.476|
|2||84||M. Fabrizio||Ducati 1098R||1'43.508||0.032|
|3||7||C. Checa||Ducati 1098R||1'43.645||0.169|
|4||3||M. Biaggi||Aprilia RSV4 1000 F.||1'43.688||0.212|
|5||52||J. Toseland||Yamaha YZF R1||1'43.735||0.259|
|6||35||C. Crutchlow||Yamaha YZF R1||1'43.769||0.293|
|7||67||S. Byrne||Ducati 1098R||1'43.881||0.405|
|8||96||J. Smrz||Ducati 1098R||1'43.932||0.456|
|9||2||L. Camier||Aprilia RSV4 1000 F.||1'44.041||0.565|
|10||65||J. Rea||Honda CBR1000RR||1'44.042||0.566|
|11||41||N. Haga||Ducati 1098R||1'44.098||0.622|
|12||11||T. Corser||BMW S1000 RR||1'44.203||0.727|
|13||76||M. Neukirchner||Honda CBR1000RR||1'44.272||0.796|
|14||50||S. Guintoli||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1'44.423||0.947|
|15||66||T. Sykes||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'44.559||1.083|
|16||57||L. Lanzi||Ducati 1098R||1'44.851||1.375|
|17||88||A. Pitt||BMW S1000 RR||1'44.852||1.376|
|18||99||L. Scassa||Ducati 1098R||1'45.368||1.892|
|19||111||R. Xaus||BMW S1000 RR||1'45.406||1.930|
|20||49||M. Tamada||BMW S1000 RR||1'45.522||2.046|
|21||32||S. Morais||Honda CBR1000RR||1'45.933||2.457|
|22||15||M. Baiocco||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'46.096||2.620|
|23||95||R. Hayden||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'46.657||3.181|
|24||31||V. Iannuzzo||Honda CBR1000RR||1'47.805||4.329|