Leon Haslam says he had to balance the cold tyre temperatures and spinning rear on his way to a second consecutive pole position on his return to the MCE British Superbike championship.
The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider timed his final flyer perfectly to make the most of the drying conditions in Q3 to take a second straight pole by 0.452s from team-mate James Ellison at a slippery Oulton Park.
Having claimed pole at Silverstone three weeks ago Haslam once again demonstrated the outright pace the new Kawasaki ZX-10R holds, this time in the wet, and managed a cold and spinning rear tyre to take his 13th career pole in BSB.
“On a used or new tyre it took a lot of laps to get the heat in,” Haslam said. “There were a lot of mistakes on my half and we made a small change for Q3 and I didn't know if we went the right or wrong way. As it was only eight minutes I stayed out to make the most of it and in the last lap I was able to do it despite a lot of spins.
“To be honest I don't even know where we finished, I had P4 on my board when I got the chequered flag.”
Reflecting on the progress made in the wet on the new Kawasaki machine, Haslam is confident he will have the package to fight towards the front whatever weather conditions are thrown up on race day.
The former World Superbike challeneger topped the wet FP3 while he also claimed the quickest time in last week's in-season test at the Cheshire track and is keen to make up for missing out on the podium on his comeback to BSB at last month's 2016 curtain raiser.
“That was our first full day in the rain. New bike, new Showa suspension, me at this track and no traction control so it has been a good day,” he said. “It [race pace] depends on the conditions. We missed a lot of yesterday's dry practice with a technical issue but we obviously tested here last week so we can rely on that.
“In the rain we've done more laps than most but we will wait and see for the weather and it is going to be a close race no matter what.”