Haslam Takes Pole In Oz

Paul Carruthers | February 26, 2010

Carlos Checa and the Ducatis may have dominated qualifying for the first day and a half at Phillip Island, but it was Leon Haslam stepping up to capture pole position on his Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 when it counted most – in Superpole.Haslam saved his best for last and clicked off a 1:31.229 in Superpole 3 – the final segment of the qualifying session that pitted the fastest eight riders against each other. For Haslam it was his first-ever pole position in World Superbike and it came in his debut with the Suzuki team.Haslam did his best lap almost straight away in Superpole 3 and then he waited it out as the others tried to beat him. Ducati Xerox’s Michel Fabrizio ended up very nearly doing that, ending up just .0016 of a second behind Haslam.Third fastest was Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, the Brit ending what had been a miserable qualifying effort early on with a good run that saw him make it all the way to th efront row.Checa, the Spaniard who had led the two timed sessions prior to Superpole, rode his Althea Racing Ducati to a best of 1:31.696 in Superpole 3 to take the final spot on the front row.Checa’s best was just .029 better than Haslam’s Suzuki teammate Sylvain Guintoli, who will lead the second row for tomorrow’s two races.Team Pata Ducati’s Jakub Smrz was next, the Czech just behind Guintoli and barely ahead of Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea. The eighth and final rider in Superpole 3 was Sterilgarda Yamaha’s James Toseland. Like his teammate Crutchlow, Toseland turned things around from the earlier qualifying sessions to make it to the bitter end of Superpole. He will take the last spot on the second row and was only .796 of a second off Haslam’s best.Among those who didn’t make it through were DFX Ducati’s Lorenzo Lanzi, Xerox Ducati’s Noriyuki Haga, Aprilia’s Max Biaggi, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, BMW’s Troy Corser, Kawasaki’s Chris Vermeulen, BMW’s Ruben Xaus, Aprilia’s Leon Camier and Honda’s Max Neukirchner, the German failing to move out of Superpole 1.

Final Qualifying

1. Leon Haslam (Suzuki) 1:31.229

2. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:31.245

3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:31.642

4. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:31.671

5. Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki) 1:31.696

6. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:31.795

7. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:31.912

8. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:32.019

9. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 1:32.205

10. Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) 1:32.229

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.