Leon Haslam will make his Stiggy Honda World Superbike debut from sixth on the grid after qualifying as the second fastest Honda rider at Phillip Island on Saturday.

The BSB race winner, preparing to start his first full WSBK season since 2004, had been eleventh after normal qualifying, but used the new knockout Superpole format to springboard up the order.

"Today has been very exciting and I am really happy!" smiled the Briton. "We made good progress throughout the day and the qualifying went well and I got into Superpole.

"In the first Superpole session I used normal race tyres and finished twelfth, so for the second session we put on qualifying tyres and I managed to set my fastest lap and finished third.

"For the last Superpole session we put on new qualifiers again, but unfortunately I made some small mistakes and wasn't able to go any faster. I'm still very pleased with today and looking forward to starting tomorrows races from sixth on the grid," Haslam concluded.

"Leon just keeps on surprising us with his fantastic performances," enthused team manager Johan Stigefelt. "I'm more then pleased with what he has shown us today and I'm quite confident that he will keep up the good work for the races tomorrow."

Team-mate Roby Rolfo qualified 19th for Superpole and, after suffering problems with his rear tyre, will start Sunday's races from 18th on the grid.

"We had a good qualifying session this afternoon and I managed to set some fast lap times and get into Superpole," said the Italian. "Going out, the first couple of laps were ok, but then my rear tyre started to slide and, when we got back to the garage and looked at the tyre we could see that it was all torn up. Very unlucky, but that is how it is sometimes."

"Roby was very unlucky as he had problems with his rear tyre in the first Superpole session and wasn't able to advance further," confirmed Stigefelt. "I think he will be able to do well tomorrow in the races because he seems happy with his race set up and has a good race pace."

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