The following release is from Team Suzuki...Team Suzuki Press Office - September 24.Team Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam defied the pain barrier on his way to posting the third-quickest time on the opening day's qualifying at the Imola World Superbike 12th round.Visibly in discomfort throughout the day, Haslam put aside the pain in his left knee and hustled his way round the 4.936 kilometre circuit and recorded a lap of 1:48.621, just behind Carlos Checa (Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Honda).Team mate Sylvain Guintoli ended 13th quickest, but felt it had been better than his usual Friday performance.Leon Haslam - 3rd, 1:48.621:"In the morning session my knee felt really bad and the whole session was a bit of a struggle, even though I had some strapping on it. So for the afternoon qualifying, we made the strapping much stronger and I had some pain-killing injections before I went out. I definitely felt a bit more comfortable and was able to put in some decent laps. My thumb is a bit irritable, but I forget about when I am on the bike and it's OK as long as it doesn't move in a certain direction!"Today the track didn't feel as good or as quick as the tests and it is a bit more slippery. Hopefully, as more rubber goes down, it will improve. This afternoon, my lap times were quite comfortable and I really didn't have any big problems. Obviously my main competition is Max and I have to beat him in both races if I want to keep my title dream alive. I've heard that he's not so good in the wet, so maybe it would be better for me if it did rain on Sunday. But, the weather is something I cannot do anything about so I will be doing my best, whatever the conditions."Sylvain Guintoli - 13th, 1:49.560:"For me, for a Friday, today wasn't so bad. We've made some good progress even though it has taken me a bit of time getting back into a rhythm. At the moment we've been working on getting a good balance for the bike on race tyres and I am happy because I think we've more-or-less decided what tyres we'll use in the races on Sunday. Of course, if it rains we're all going to suffer, but I really don't want a wet race. The track felt a bit greasy this morning, but it was better in the afternoon. I am determined to do my best this weekend - as usual - and feel that I am very close to that elusive podium. I have four chances left and my aim is to make them count."

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