Motorcycling: Haslam sets up tilt at double victory with fastest practice time

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The Independent Online

Leon Haslam got his Bennetts British Superbike Championship season back on track by topping the free practice times at Snetterton yesterday.

The HM Plant Honda rider will be looking for victory in both races tomorrow after setting a best lap of one minute 5.448 seconds to edge out the Rizla Suzuki of Tom Sykes.

"The bike is good around here, but there is still more to go," said Haslam. "I enjoy riding this circuit and have had some good results here, though until this year I've not had the top speed. I need to win races, starting with these, and there are a lot of points to be scored, so the title is far from decided."

Sykes said: "This has a been a decent day for me – right from the off the bike felt good and I've been comfortable. We've been making some small changes during the sessions and we have a superb set-up."

Shane Byrne, the championship leader, put in a best lap of 1:05.557 but opted to miss the second session for what his team said were "personal reasons".

The Airwaves Ducati rider said: "I do see these races as being more difficult than those we have had so far, though I am feeling good about them."

His team-mate, Leon Camier, was 0.399secs further back with Karl Harris, on the Rob Mac Racing Yamaha, and North West 200 Ducati's Michael Rutter completing the top six. Cal Crutchlow, second in the title chase, escaped injury when he crashed in the morning. He was seventh, with the Lloyds British Jentin Yamaha rider Simon Andrews eighth.