Haslam 5th on Monza Superbike Opening Day

Team Suzuki Press Office

Team Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam endured mixed conditions on the opening day of qualifying at the Monza World Superbike Championship round in Italy, but ended fifth quickest and happy enough with his day's work.

The track was hit by torrential rain yesterday, and although today dawned dry, it was not long before it began raining again. This afternoon's qualifying session began with a damp track and the first half of the session saw many unfamiliar names at the top of the leaderboard. The track then began to dry out and by the end; there was virtually a dry line round the whole of the 5.777 kilometre circuit.

Briton Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) posted the fastest lap with fellow countryman Jonathan Rea (Honda) second. Third went to Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) third with Troy Corser (BMW) fourth.

**Leon Haslam - 5th, 1:45.303: **

"The morning was good and really all today was pretty good, though there were a few small problems in the afternoon session and some of it was a bit of a waste of time. We had some sort of strange clutch problem with both bikes for a while, so to get fifth was not so bad, especially considering the changing conditions.

"This afternoon's qualifying started with a wet track and then it began to dry. By the end, there was almost a dry line round the whole track, but there were still some places where you had to keep a look out.

"The new chicane is a bit safer and it makes the track flow better, but we'll have to wait and see what happens when the whole pack is charging into it in a race before we can say that it is a success. For me though, the track is now more enjoyable to ride, particularly when you are by yourself. Slipstreaming round here is crucial and will be a big factor in the races. So far, I've not had a tow from anybody so I'm looking forward to that tomorrow. Come Race day though, I'd prefer to be a long way out in front and not have to worry about anybody drafting me. That's my plan anyway."

Sylvain Guintoli - 16th. 1:46.588:

"I've not been here before, so the new chicane means nothing to me. Today, my first job was to learn the track and that's what I tried to do. The track is quite technical and there are a lot of high speeds and fast corners and so it's important to be very accurate if you want to go fast. Conditions were changing a lot in this afternoon's qualifying session and I think I was a bit too cautious in the first chicane and that's where I lost a lot of time. If I had been more aggressive there, I would've been quite a bit further up the leaderboard for sure.

"I know that slipstreaming is going to very important here - especially in the races - but there are a lot of opportunities to do that round here. However, it'll also be very easy to get done, so I'll have to watch out for that."

** Friday WSB qualifying:** 1 Cal Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha) 1:44.577, 2 Rea (GBR-Honda) 1:44.789, 3 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati) 1:45.134, 4 Troy Corser (AUS-BMW) 1:45.234, ** 5 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare) 1:45.303**, 6 Ruben Xaus (ESP-BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1:45.542. ** 16 Sylvain Guintoli (GBR-Suzuki Alstare) 1:46.588**.

** First Day Monza Images: ** CLICK HERE

Haslam 5th on Monza Superbike Opening Day