Although he missed out on securing a second Bennetts British Superbike Championship pole position of the season at Croft, Leon Haslam admitted it was still a case of mission accomplished after he took a place on the front row of the grid in the North East.
Haslam had set the pace ahead of HM Plant Honda team-mate Cal Crutchlow during the morning practice session and carried that pace into qualifying as he was second fastest through the opening two stages of the new look qualifying session – akin to that used in Formula One.
The 'pocket rocket' looked like he was going to complete a hat-trick in the final part of the session as he ran second behind Crutchlow but he slipped behind Michael Rutter and Shane Byrne late on – although he wasn't too despondent with fourth on the grid.
"Qualifying was ok but I just got caught out on my flying lap where I made a small mistake and I just couldn't get the time I wanted like we had in the other session,” he told the BSB website. “In the final qualifying session you get three laps out of the tyres; the first is never going to be a quick one but the second one I just messed up and that dropped me that couple of tenths which was the difference between getting pole. There is no time to come in and change over to new tyres as you only have ten minutes.
“I have been struggling a little bit in the last sector, but have been quick in the first two but we know what we are going to work on. I think we will make an improvement in warm up that will help us tomorrow. We wanted a front row start and that's all that matters."