Leon Haslam turned in his best qualifying effort since moving to the factory BMW team today, the Brit besting the rest to earn provisional pole position for Sundays two World Superbike races at the Autodromo Nazionale in Monza, Italy.Haslam led the session early on his BMW S1000 RR before morning practice leader Jonathan Rea took over at the top on the Castrol Honda. Italian Marco Melandri also had a turn at the top before giving way to Haslam again. Then Melandri’s Yamaha teammate Eugene Laverty took over before losing the top spot to Aprilia’s Max Biaggi and finally to Haslam again at the end of the session.
When all was said and done, Biaggi held on to second, the World Champion just .019 of a second behind Haslam and just .312 of a second ahead of Laverty.Fourth went to BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini, the Italian posting a best of 1:43.276 to complete the provisional front row.Rea was next, barely ahead of PATA Racing Team Aprilia’s Noriyuki Haga with Melandri slipping down to seventh. Then came Haslam’s teammate Troy Corser with Maxime Berger and Aprilia’s Leon Camier, a crasher in the session, ending up 10th.World Championship points leader Carlos Checa ended the day way down in 14th, but only 1.1 seconds off Haslam’s best. The top 10 were separated by just .796 of a second.James Toseland returned to action after missing two rounds with a broken wrist. The Brit completed the session in 19th. Chris Vermeuelen, meanwhile, crashed in the morning session and did not take part in the afternoon qualifier.
1. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:42.934
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:42.953
3. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:43.265
4. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:43.276
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:43.321
6. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 1:43.531
7. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:43.588
8. Troy Corser (BMW) 1:43.640
9. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1:43.679
10. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1:43.730