Superbikes: Haslam takes pole for showdown

Leon Haslam will start today's British Superbike Championship showdown from pole after getting lucky in a rain-hit qualifying at Brands Hatch yesterday.

Leon Haslam will start today's British Superbike Championship showdown from pole after getting lucky in a rain-hit qualifying at Brands Hatch yesterday.

The "Pocket Rocket" set a quickest time of 1.26:558secs with 16 minutes still to run of the 50-minute single qualifying session.

And just moments later the heavens opened, soaking the track and guaranteeing the time couldn't be beaten.

The Airwaves Ducati rider currently lies third in the title chase on 368 points, behind team-mate and reigning champ Gregorio Lavilla on 377, and Japanese HM Plant Honda hotshot Ryuichi Kiyonari on 376.

Haslam, who also took home a brand new Audi sports car for getting the most points in qualifying across the season, said: "I was relieved to have stuck a quick one in at first, but when I came around a few laps later and saw the spots of rain, I was happy because I knew the track was getting too wet and my time couldn't be beaten."

Haslam also has the advantage of being the only one of the three title protagonists to be starting from the front row. Kyo and Lavilla will line up in fifth and sixth places.

Second on the grid is Shane "Shakey" Byrne, who has been on fine form aboard the Rizla Suzuki. Michael Rutter will line up third on the Penrith-based Stobart Honda machine, while youngster Johnny "Stormy" Rea rounds off the front row on the Red Bull Honda.

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