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After enduring what he describes as 'a disastrous first day' Leon Haslam has battled through problems to claim his third pole position of the year to take the fight back to MCE British Superbike championship leader Shane Byrne.
Having to ride through issues with the new Kawasaki ZX-10R, Haslam made impressive gains in the final free practice session to move within range of a potential first pole position since the second round at Oulton Park.
The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider duly converted his pace to record the fastest-ever Superbike lap around the Cadwell Park, a 1m 25.923s, to take pole having fended off a late improvement from Byrne.
“I didn't think it [pole] was possible from Saturday, we had a disastrous first day,” Haslam said. “My dash didn't work on the pole lap. Before I saw my 1m 26.1s and I made a couple of big mistakes.
"I thought I'd produced a better lap but the time didn't show so I didn't know where I was or what had happened. Of course I am delighted and big thanks to the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team.”
Looking towards the races on Bank Holiday Monday, Haslam – who claimed a dominant double victory last time he competed at Cadwell Park in 2008 – feels temperatures and tyre life will once again play a pivotal role in finding consistent race pace.
“Since then we have been chipping away while looking at race distances and the cooler conditions have definitely thrown a spanner in the works with tyre life. Looks like it will be better tomorrow so hopefully it will come to us and give us better tyre life.”
Haslam will be aiming to cut into Byrne's 25-point championship lead and simultaneously collect the vital podium points ahead of the Showdown.