Haslam shines at Snetterton ahead of British Superbikes weekend
- Credit: Archant
Leon Haslam made the most of the superb conditions at Snetterton on Friday to put his JG Speedfit Kawasaki at the top of the timing screens after the opening two practice sessions for this weekend's round of the British Superbike Championship.
With the chequered flag about to be unfurled, the 35-year-old, who has yet to win a Superbike race at the Norfolk venue, laid down a marker that is just half a second outside the circuit lap record.
It was a performance which should set him up nicely to continue a winning streak that has seen him taste the winner's champagne for the last three races.
Less than eight one hundredths of a second behind Haslam was Josh Brookes, who has been struggling with pace in the earlier rounds.
The addition to the team staff of one of the leading technicians from the world superbike team has made a positive difference to the set-up of the McCams Yamaha, and the charismatic Australian looks set to be aiming for a podium finish on Sunday.
PBM Ducati's Glen Irwin, who has inherited the number one berth in the team due to the absence of British champion Shakey Byrne after his horror crash at Snetterton in testing just over a month ago, rounded out the top three.
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Swaffham-based RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki's Jake Dixon overcame a minor crash in the early stages of Friday afternoon's session to claim fourth spot, with former 1,000cc Superstock champion Danny Buchan in fifth spot, and Haslam's stable-mate Luke Mossey rounding out the top six.
Twelve months ago, Thetford's Ryan Vickers crashed out of what would have been his first podium finish in the Superstock 600cc class at his home circuit – but the 19-year-old is a quick learner and he arrives back at the scene of that particular 'crime' with an 18-point lead in this season's championship standings.
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Vickers was second quickest after Friday's practice sessions, less than a second of a lap quicker than his local rival Grant Newstead from Norwich, who will be determined to put the Tinkler's Yamaha at the head of the pack – and grab the local bragging rights on one of the biggest weekends of the season on the Snetterton calendar.