Haslam into the 1'47s at start of official IMS/Pirelli Imola tests

Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) set a fabulous 1'47.966 lap time on the first day of testing at Imola, overcoming hot track temperatures of 50 degrees plus along with his peer group as they tested their latest machine developments and many new Pirelli tyres. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) was a close second, also into the 1'47s, with Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga two Ducati Xerox riders completing the top four. Fabrizio had been the fastest rider in the morning session.

"We ran two different tyres compared to normal today and we have even more to try tomorrow" said Haslam. "Each one was as quick as the other as far as a lap times are concerned and I am happy with the consistency after 89 laps. Today has gone well, we were fast and consistent, and we have a few more things to go through tomorrow from a team point of view as well."

Overcoming disappointments at the previous race in Misano, Jonathan Rea made a good start to testing, fifth after day one for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda. Troy Corser's continued strong recent pace on his BMW Motorrad Motorsport four-cylinder machine took him to sixth today, his team-mate Ruben Xaus an impressive seventh, only three thousandths of a second behind Corser.

Double Misano race winner Max Biaggi got back to basics with a time of 1'49.184 on his Aprilia Alitalia bike, while another veteran rider, Carlos Checa, was ninth on his Ducati Althea privateer machine. Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes hammered on the door of the top places with a tenth on his official entry, just less than 1.5 seconds from Haslam.

The championship's one-make tyre supplier, Pirelli, has brought a considerable quantity of new material to the tests, in view of the second part of the season and in particular the Imola round at the end of September. Today's high temperatures (air 34o./track 50o.+) will also give some valid indications in view of the opening round of the 2011 championship, scheduled for Phillip Island. Pirelli is evaluating one new front and six new rear options at these tests, four of them having been used today.

-source: wsbk