Saturday, February 27, 2010

WSBK: Phillip Island Qually 2010

The "Pocket Rocket", Leon Haslam, finally came of age in Australia in qualifying for the first World Superbike race of the 2010 season, bagging his first ever pole position on the world stage.

The stocky young Englishman was on blistering form throughout qualifying, wrestling the howling 1000cc Suzuki machine to pole position, fastest in every one of the three final qualifying sessions. It was a magnificent performance for the lad who has previously been best known for his "always the bridesmaid" performances in British Superbike.

Haslam is nicknamed "Pocket Rocket" in honour of his father, "Rocket" Ron Haslam, who never really achieved the results on the world stage that he probably deserved, but was ludicrously quick, particularly on the first lap on cold tyres in 500cc GP races. The Haslam name is now back in the record books.

Flakey Italian Michel Fabrizio, who can't quite decide if he's jaw-droppingly quick or a bloody idiot, took second place by the tiniest of margins, less than two hundredths of a second. Can the young Italian Ducati rider keep this up over a whole season to bag the title? History would say no, but it's hard to say.

Up and coming English nutcase Cal Crutchlow grabbed 3rd place. The World Supersport champion was damn quick, if a tad erratic, in British Superbike, and he returned to 1000cc machines like a duck to water. He was quick all round the lap, and downright terrifying out of the last corner. It was great to see his father in charge of the pit board too, complete with enormous moustache.

The front row was rounded out by serial crasher Carlos Checa on a privateer Ducati.

It's looking good for the race.

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