BMW's hopes of maintaining the momentum from its first World Superbike Championship victory at Donington Park have received a set-back after neither Marco Melandri nor Leon Haslam made it onto the front two rows at Miller Motorsports Park.
Coming into the weekend looking to make up lost ground in the fight for the 2012 title, Melandri was left to rue chatter problems on the S1000RR during Superpole as he settled for ninth, though the Italian is confident he has a stronger race package.
“It was a very tough Superpole for us. In Superpole 1 we were struggling with the first tyre, and when I put the qualifier on in Superpole 2, I suffered from chatter. I went to the pits and put a race tyre on and was confident I would improve but on my first lap another rider was in my way in the middle of the corner, so I lost time.
“The following lap, I pushed more and was quite fast in the first sector. But every time we have more grip we struggle a bit with the engine brake so in turn 5, I could not stop the bike, went out and lost the chance to do another lap.
“Anyway, I am positive about the race. The start can be good for us, because the straight is very long and we can use our powerful engine and I hope to be able to pass as many riders as I can there. During the race you can overtake at some braking points as well.”
A particularly difficult day for Haslam, the British rider suffered with electronics problems during practice, before a tyre deflation and chatter woes during Superpole would eventually consign him to a lowly 13th position on the grid.
“Everything that possibly can go wrong this weekend has. From the first session on we were struggling with the electronics package but this morning the bike felt good. We just used a harder race tyre and did a good race run. I was not far off the pace, which was good.
“In the free practice we were struggling again with the electronics, and then in Superpole 1 I had the puncture so it was one thing after another. We then went for the qualifying tyre, but had some issues again, and that was kind of the first flying lap I had all day. A crazy day.”