BSB: Haslam on pole after incident-packed qualifying

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Leon Haslam will start on pole position for the opening round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship after a frenetic qualifying session.

In light of the poor weather forecast for Easter Monday, race bosses have rejigged the schedule to run the opening race on Sunday afternoon, meaning qualifying was run over a 30-minute session this morning in order to avoid riders losing track time in the usual knock-out format.

The drama started in the 20-minute FP3 session before qualifying with Jake Dixon and Tarran Mackenzie crashing at Starkeys and Craner respectively.

Tommy Bridewell was the first faller of qualifying session at Starkeys on the Halsall Suzuki, but he wouldn’t be the only one with Christian Iddon, Jakub Smrz, Sylvain Barrier and Taylor Mackenzie all joining the infamous Craner Curves after losing the front on the left-hander. Gino Rea was another faller crashing out of the session at the Fogarty esses.

Haslam’s time of 1’29.128 places him almost half a second ahead of team-mate Luke Mossey who makes a return to the front row for the first time since his Thruxton crash last year.

Reigning champion Shane Byrne left it late to stick the Be Wiser Ducati into third to complete the front row.

James Ellison heads up row two on the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha ahead of an impressive showing for Danny Buchan, who will start fifth for FS3 Racing Kawasaki.

Jason O’Halloran rounds out the top six ahead of the leading Suzuki of Bradley Ray with Peter Hickman, Dan Linfoot and Glenn Irwin rounding out the top ten.

Jake Dixon, having got back out after his FP3 crash, will start 11th ahead of Michael Laverty and Josh Brookes. 

Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing