James Haydon has been one of the most unlucky riders in the World Superbike championship this year in terms of accidents, but today at Imola his luck showed some sign of changing as he escaped unharmed from a potentially destructive squirrel strike.

"I was so lucky on my final lap of the morning session," began the Foggy Petronas Rider. "I was going flat out in fifth gear into the double right-hander and as soon as I hit the brakes a squirrel ambled onto the track. At first I thought it was a dog because its tail was up and it was looked so big.

"There was no way I could move because I was so hard on the brakes, and Neil Hodgson was right behind me as well," he continued. "It would have been a massive crash if I had hit it. I haven't been so freaked out by something like that for ages."

Haydon ended the day in 18th, 11 places behind team-mate Troy Corser.

"We made a step forward in the afternoon, but not enough. I know I could have been in the 53s but a mechanical problem meant that I could not improve my time on a qualifying tyre. My injured hand is sore when I am off the bike but is not slowing me up," said the Brit.



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