Haslam Fifth in Valencia Superbike Practice

Team Suzuki Press Office

Team Suzuki Alstare riders Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli ended the first day of practice and qualifying for round three of the World Superbike Championship in Valencia with fifth and eleventh-fastest times, but are confident of improvement tomorrow.

The Spanish Circuit Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo is a tight, twisty track and has mainly favoured twin cylinder bikes in the past, so it was no big surprise to see six of them in the top eight today. Topping the leaderboard after qualifying was Carlos Checa, with fellow Ducati riders Jakub Smrz and Shane Byrne in second and third places. Just ahead of Leon is Max Biaggi (Aprilia), with Ducatis filling sixth, seventh and eighth places.

**Leon Haslam - 5th, 1:34.780: **

"We've got some work to do to make me happy, but it's just the usual stuff really, so nobody is getting worried at this stage. Really only Carlos (Checa) has been consistently -aster than me today and the ones who finished ahead of me in qualifying did their times as one-offs, so I am not too concerned. Everything has been progressing well today and we didn't have any major problems. This is a fairly unique track and there are quite a few slippery bits that you have to be aware about. The nature of it favours twins, as you can see by the standings today. But I'm confident that the fine tweaks we will make tomorrow will improve the bike and let me lap more quickly."

**Sylvain Guintoli - 11th, 1:35.189: **

"This track is very different to other tracks in that it is fairly flat and there are lots of corners and no big straights. For this track we changed the bike's geometry quite a bit and improved the feel of the bike in the afternoon. Then it felt more comfortable and I am sure that the work we will do tomorrow will be another improvement. I hope that's the case, because I don't want to be in a situation where we have to pull a rabbit out of the hat to find a good set-up. This series is so competitive, that just two-tenths-of-second can lose you two rows of the grid, so I have to qualify as high up as possible to have any chance of a podium.

Friday WSB Qualifying: **1 Checa (ESP-Ducati) 1:34.220, 2 Smrz (CZE-Ducati) 1:34.502, 3 Byrne (GBR-Ducati) 1:34.690, 4 Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia) 1:34.771, **5 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare) 1:34.780, 6 Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati) 1:34.886. 11 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare) 1:35.189.

Haslam Fifth in Valencia Superbike Practice