WSBK: Haslam Edges Out Biaggi in QP1

2011 World Superbike

World Superbike heads to one of the true cathedrals of speed this weekend: the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, for the fourth round of the 2011 championship.

The track, located in the north of Italy is the home circuit to a legion of famous Italian brands – both two- and four-wheel – and is famous for being the stage on which many epic battles have unfolded.

Friday’s first practice session for Monza World Superbik saw Jonathan Rea on the Castrol Honda atop the timing boards, followed closely by series’ veteran Troy Corser on the factory BMW. A surprise for third was Ayrton Badovini on the satellite BMW.

But things changed by the time the grid was finished up qualifying practice on Friday. BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam edged out Aprilia’s Max Biaggi for the top time Friday.

Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Superbike) says: “It was a very good day, and, of course, you are always happy when you are on top. I feel we have made a big step forward from Assen.

“Obviously we were always looking forward to Monza as Troy had a good result here last year. The biggest thing I am happy with is that I feel overall we have made a step forward with the bike with the way it is working. Now I am looking forward to tomorrow. We have a few areas where we need to progress, but we are a lot more consistent and I am really happy.”

Here’s how the field ended up in Friday’s first official qualifying session.

2011 Monza World Superbike: QP1 Results:

1. Leon Haslam, BMW Motorrad Motorsport, BMW S1000 RR: 1:42.934
2. Max Biaggi, Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team, Aprilia RSV4 Factory: 1:42.953
3. Eugene Laverty, Yamaha World Superbike Team, Yamaha YZF R1 :1:43.265
4. Ayrton Badovini, BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team, BMW S1000 RR: 1:43.276
5. Jonathan Rea, Castrol Honda, Honda CBR1000RR: 1:43.321
6. Noriyuki Haga, PATA Racing Team Aprilia, Aprilia RSV4 Factory: 1:43.531
7. Marco Melandri, Yamaha World Superbike Team, Yamaha YZF R1: 1:43.588
8. Troy Corser, BMW Motorrad Motorsport, BMW S1000 RR: 1:43.640
9. Maxime Berger, Supersonic Racing Team, Ducati 1198R: 1:43.679
10. Leon Camier, Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team, Aprilia RSV4 Factory: 1:43.730
11. Michel Fabrizio, Team Suzuki Alstare, Suzuki GSX-R1000: 1:43.762
12. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike, Kawasaki ZX-10R: 1:43.850
13. Sylvain Guintoli, Team Effenbert – Liberty Racing, Ducati 1198R: 1:43.861
14. Carlos Checa, Althea Racing, Ducati 1198R: 1:44.071
15. Joan Lascorz, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10R: 1:44.095
16. Ruben Xaus, Castrol Honda, Honda CBR1000RR: 1:44.232
17. Jakub Smrz, Team Effenbert – Liberty Racing, Ducati 1198R: 1:44.401
18. Roberto Rolfo, Team Pedercini, Kawasaki ZX-10R: 1:44.922
19. James Toseland, BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team, BMW S1000 RR: 1:44.989

The teams and riders have three rounds under their belts now. Things are getting sorted and the field is already being established as to whom the front runners will be. That said, there are ten rounds left to run. That’s a lot of points up for grabs when you consider each event is a double-header.

Next up: Saturday Superpole.

WSBK Point Standings after three (of 13) Rounds:
Carlos Checa (Ducati) 132
Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 89
Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 85
Jonathan Rea (Honda) 79
Leon Haslam (BMW) 68
Leon Camier (Aprilia) 50
Jacob Smrz (Ducati 49
Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 47
Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 35
Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 34

WSBK Monza race 1 and 2 air on Speed TV at 4 and 5 p.m. (EDT) Sunday.