Sunshine and warm weather helped the Rizla Suzuki racers to push their GSX-R1000s to the limit with both showing impressive pace on race tyres. It was James who made the most of his qualifying tyres in the final session while Shakey’s attempts at a fast lap were disrupted by two red flags in the last six minutes. Ducati’s Leon Haslam took pole position.
Legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker will be joining Rizla Suzuki at Thruxton this weekend to cheer on the boys in blue. Superbike racing starts at 13:30 on Bank Holiday Monday, April 17th
“It’s a shame I was just edged off the front row but fifth place is good and I want to thank my mechanics for all their hard work and support today.
“I am comfortable on my Rizla Suzuki and feel if I can get away with the leaders I’ll be able to stick with them and compete. We have built up steadily over the weekend to get to this point and it feels like it is starting to come together – I can’t wait for the races.”
“I can’t believe my bad luck in qualifying this year. A qualifying tyre will only last one lap around Thruxton because of the high speed and I had just started my final fast lap when the red flags came out with six minutes to go. I tried nursing the tyre home for another go but it didn’t work out and I ended up ninth.
“I am pumped for tomorrow’s races and we have a very quick bike. Through the speed traps our bike is one of the fastest and that will help me to overtake the riders in front of me. I’m not planning on taking any prisoners in the races.”
Niall Mackenzie - Race Operations Manager:
“James has been consistent and fast all weekend and thoroughly deserves his best qualifying position of the season so far in fifth. He’s a good starter, is confident on race rubber and if he can get away with the leaders you can be sure he’ll have a go for the podium places.
“Shane was a bit unlucky today as his final qualifying tyre was wasted when a red flag ruined his lap. On race rubber he remains one of the front runners and he needs a good start tomorrow if he wants to be in the final reckoning.”
Qualifying Times: 1: Leon Haslam (Ducati) 1:14.626, 2: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.559, 3: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.593, 4: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +0.871, 5: James Haydon (Rizla Suzuki) +0.969, 6: Michael Rutter (Honda) +1.115, 7: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +1.149, 8: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +1.184, 9: Shane Byrne (Rizla Suzuki)+1.514, 10: Jon Kirkham (Suzuki) +1.740.