Leon Haslam was declared fit to race for the European round of the FIM World Superbike Championship at a wet and windy day at Donington Park.
Limping to his Honda PATA bike in the afternoon for the first qualifying practice, the discomfort from the leg that he broke just four weeks ago was obvious, but his performance to finish the session in fourteenth was a determined one; with the pain from his injury being compounded by the tough track conditions.
When speaking to MCN immediately after the session however, Haslam was in a confident mood, “I was glad to get a few laps under my belt and we have been playing about with a bit of positioning on the bike. It was not ideal conditions with rain and damp patches on the track. I wanted to go out there and take it easy and smooth and not be dodging wet patches. We can progress from where we are, as I had no taping, no painkillers so I can only feel better from now on.”
Sykes too – despite posting the fastest time of the session – battled with the wet asphalt and fell at the Old Hairpin with less than five minutes remaining.
A bemused Sykes told MCN, “I guess it was suddenly wet at that part of the track. When I came round at the Old Hairpin, as I was on an in-lap. I think I was a lot slower in the first split and taking it easy, so it was a bit unusual.”
Elsewhere, less than a second separated Jonathan Rea in second from Loris Baz in tenth as the riders struggled to find a consistently dry line around the Leicestershire course.
Dryer and warmer conditions are expected for tomorrow’s three, Superpole sessions.
Donington - FIM Superbike World Championship - Qualifying 1
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'30.278
2. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'31.560
3. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'31.571
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'31.792
5. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'31.940
6. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'31.978
7. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'32.094
8. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'32.103
9. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'32.242
10. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'32.261
11. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'32.677
12. Niccolò Canepa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1098R 1'33.174
13. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'33.205
14. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'33.402
15. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'33.530
16. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'34.198
17. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'34.405
18. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'38.050
19. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'37.334