Team Suzuki Alstare riders Sylvain Guintoli and Leon Haslam experienced mixed fortunes during qualifying for the World Superbike ninth round at Brno in the Czech Republic:
Guintoli managed to improve his bike’s grip problems from yesterday and advance into Superpole 3, before just missing out on a front row grid spot, but finished with the fifth fastest lap and will start tomorrow’s pair of 20-lap races from the second row of the grid.
It was not such a good day for Haslam, who struggled to find grip with his qualifying tyres and ended 14th – his worst performance of the season. The young Briton will have to dig deep tomorrow, provided that he and the team can solve their problems in the morning warm-up.
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) took Superpole – his fourth of the season, -with series leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia) second. Third was Jonathan Rea (Honda), with Ruben Xaus (BMW) fourth, just a whisker ahead of Guintoli.
Sylvain Guintoli (5th, 1:59.179) says:”I am definitely very happy to have got into Superpole 3, but a little bit disappointed not to have got a place on the front row of the grid. It was very, very close and it’s a shame, but after yesterday I am so happy with the big improvement we made today. The track is definitely coming in now and it’s so much better than yesterday. The bike felt good and strong and I really enjoyed Superpole today. We hardly changed anything from yesterday except the gearbox and the engine characteristics. The top speed was better today and I was also able to go through the corners faster. I think that the biggest change today was the track’s grip level. It seems that when there is little or no track grip, we really struggle. Considering how we ended yesterday, I think the team has done a great job and I’m really looking forward to the races tomorrow.”
Leon Haslam (14th, 1:59.995) says: “I am very disappointed with how things went today and I’m not pleased to finish 14th – the first time I’ve been out of the top five and my worst result in qualifying this year. Today we had similar problems to yesterday and we didn’t manage to solve those problems so that’s why we are where we are. I’m having a lot of problems with lack of grip – especially on qualifying tyres. My times on race rubber are pretty good, but once I put on the qualifiers we seem to run into trouble.”
“My grid position is going to make the races very difficult, but ahead of that we have to solve the problem. We’ll have a look at all the data and talk to the telemetry boys and see if there are some pointers. Then, we’ll have to see if the changes we make in the warm-up improve the bike. It’s going to be a very long, hot and difficult day tomorrow, but my aim is to make two good starts and fight as hard as I can.”
Saturday qualifying: 1 Cal Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha) 1:58.018, 2 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia) 1:58.743, 3 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda) 1:59.074, 4 Ruben Xaus (ESP-BMW) 1:59.135, 5 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare) 1:59.179. 14 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare) 1:59.995.