Haslam On Top!

Cycle News Staff | December 9, 2009

Alstare Suzuki’s Leon Haslam led today’s first day of World Superbike testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, the Brit besting most of the top factory men on a warm and sunny day in Spain.Haslam circulated at a best of 1:35.5 on the GSX-R1000, just two tenths quicker than Aprilia’s Max Biaggi’s 1:35.7.Third fastest was former two-time World Superbike Champion James Toseland, who is back in the series on a factory Yamaha. Toseland crashed the R1 once today, but bounced back to stay third on the time sheets.”It’s nice being on a track I know so I could really concentrate on the bike, unlike Portimao in the last test where I was learning the circuit as well, ” Toseland said in a Yamaha team release after lapping at a best of 1:34.8. “I think we’ve been really competitive today. The times I’ve been doing have been really comfortable, so a sign for me that the bike and team is working well. We’ve been mainly working on the electronic side of things today. It’s such a new bike, there were a lot of things the team wanted to try out during the 2009 season but didn’t have time to do, so the team are taking the opportunity to try some new things with a new rider to see if there’s an improvement.”Fourth fastest today was Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, the Brit also crashing at one point during the day. Rea was just a 10th of a second off Toseland and two tenths quicker than Toseland’s teammate, fellow Brit Cal Crutchlow. The non-defending World Supersport Champion lapped at a best of 1:35.1.Then came German Max Neukircher on the second Hannspree Ten Kate CBR1000RR. Alstare Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli was the eighth fastest of the testers.The Ducati Xerox factory team was not present at the test.In World Supersport action, Kenan Sufuoglu was the fastest, lapping at 1:36.8 on his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR.Ben Spies qualified on pole position for the World Superbike round at Valencia back in April with a 1:33.2