Haslam beats pain to go third fastest

Leon Haslam kept his World Superbike title challenge on course with the third fastest time in first qualifying practice at Imola yesterday.

The British Suzuki rider was almost half a second back from Spain's Carlos Checa, who topped the session on his Ducati, and less than a 10th of a second behind the Northern Irishman Jonathan Rea on his Honda.

It was an impressive run by Haslam given he suffered injuries to his knee and hand in a crash in race one last time out in Germany, and has been undergoing physiotherapy in an attempt to be ready for this weekend. Haslam is second in the championship, 58 points behind leader Max Biaggi with 100 points still up for grabs.

Biaggi could only manage 14th fastest on his Aprilia.