Leon Haslam was left to rue the cost of several mistakes on his flying lap in qualifying, as he eventually placed an impressive third fastest ahead of Sunday's prestigious 8 Hour race.

Lining up alongside Kazuma Watanabe and Azlan Shah Bin Kamaruzaman in the Kawasaki Team Green entry, Haslam comes into the 40th running of the event hoping to repeat his heroic winning feats from 2013 and '14, and claim a first victory at the race for the factory since 1993.

And Haslam feels preparation for this year's race has been smoother than '16, with each rider agreeing on set-up direction, resulting in strong pace on both new and old tyres.

Had it not been for several costly mistakes through the track's famous, serpentine first sector, Haslam could have been in the mix for pole position.

As it was, third place on the grid, with a lap time that was just 0.343s off Katsuyuki Nakasuga's pole position lap - the quickest time of the day - still represented a positive showing for the Englishman.

"I didn't feel that confident just before Superpole because we didn't get any laps in before the qualifying session," said Haslam. "But it went well. I made a couple of mistakes in that first sector, where I lost three tenths.

"But we finished just around three tenths off the pole position. Third on the grid. I did a 2m 6.3s, which isn't too shabby. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow now."

By Neil Morrison

Photo by Steve English
 

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