Leon Haslam will start his first race as a BMW rider from the front row of the grid at Phillip Island after both he and Troy Corser turned their fortunes around in time for Superpole.
Having embarked on the highest-profile move of the winter with a switch from Suzuki to BMW, the 2010 runner-up has nonetheless endured an occasionally difficult off-season as he battled set-up issues on the S1000RR.
However, having begun the week outside the top ten during testing, Haslam will now start the opening round of the 2011 season from fourth position – the first time a BMW has qualified on the front row since Corser claimed pole position at Misano last year.
“This is a great result,” the Briton said. “If someone had offered me a front row start two weeks ago I would have been over the moon, so certainly we are all really happy. The team has pulled together and worked hard to overcome the issues we have had so far this weekend, and the end result has come at the right time.
“We have made good progress, but I still have a few areas I want to work on tomorrow before the races. Still as a team we are confident we have the pace to do well in the races tomorrow. Everybody in the team has worked very hard, so thanks to all the guys.”
Much like Haslam, Corser has also struggled in the lead up to the opening round, but he would join his team-mate in SP3 to qualify a solid seventh.
“We struggled at the start of the weekend with the set-up, but since then we have all worked really hard to make positive steps forward. Leon and I were having the same issues, but collectively we found a solution and we both showed clear signs of improvement.
“In the last session I didn't have a new qualifying tyre to go out on, so I had to settle for a used one, but I cannot complain. Our race pace looks pretty good on paper, but a lot depends on the temperatures around here. On the whole I think we can all look forward to tomorrow.”