Phillip Island star Leon Haslam found himself rooted towards the back end of the timesheets during provisional qualification for the latest World Superbike round at Qatar after struggling with technical issues.

Haslam, who arrives in the Middle East third in the standings after a successful debut with Stiggy Honda in Australia, is one of a handful of riders experiencing the Losail circuit for the first time.

However, while Ben Spies stormed to provisional pole position during qualifying, Haslam's progress was hampered by a series of niggling problems.

It meant the Brit completed less laps than the majority of his rivals, leaving him 19th position but facing a deficit of just a second to third placed Carlos Checa.

"I had a few issues today which held me back a little. We managed to make some good progress with the suspension. Hopefully tomorrow we can put the time and laps in and qualify well and continue the progression that we made today. I'll back on track in time to improve upon my best lap time."

Team-mate Roberto Rolfo endured a better day, briefly running inside the top ten before fading to an eventual 14th on the provisional grid when he chose not to capitalise on the optimum track conditions.

"In this track it is very important to be fast in every corner to set a good lap time. We managed to improve a lot through the sessions but unfortunately we had some problems with the bike towards the end. I set my best lap ten minutes before the end of the session but had to stay inside while many riders were out to set theirs."