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Haslam shines at Snetterton ahead of British Superbikes weekend

PUBLISHED: 20:50 15 June 2018 | UPDATED: 20:50 15 June 2018

Leon Haslam was flying during practice at Snetterton Picture: Barry Clay

Leon Haslam was flying during practice at Snetterton Picture: Barry Clay

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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.

Former Grand Prix star Ron Haslam keeps an eye on his son Leon, the Superbike Championship leader Picture: Barry ClayFormer Grand Prix star Ron Haslam keeps an eye on his son Leon, the Superbike Championship leader Picture: Barry Clay

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.

Thetford's Ryan Vickers will be looking to increase his Superstock 600 championship lead Picture: Barry ClayThetford's Ryan Vickers will be looking to increase his Superstock 600 championship lead Picture: Barry Clay

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.

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.

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.

RAF Team rider Jordan Weaving, returning after his shoulder injury, at Snetterton Picture: Barry ClayRAF Team rider Jordan Weaving, returning after his shoulder injury, at Snetterton Picture: Barry Clay

Andrew Irwin has stepped in to replace the injured Shane Byrne at Snetterton Picture: Barry ClayAndrew Irwin has stepped in to replace the injured Shane Byrne at Snetterton Picture: Barry Clay

Norwich rider Grant Newstead in new livery for his home round Picture: Barry ClayNorwich rider Grant Newstead in new livery for his home round Picture: Barry Clay

North Walsham's Jack Tritton gives a thumbs up as driver Simon Gilbert exits Murrays Picture: Barry ClayNorth Walsham's Jack Tritton gives a thumbs up as driver Simon Gilbert exits Murrays Picture: Barry Clay

Simon Gilbert and North Walsham's Jack Tritton had a good first qualifying Picture: Barry ClaySimon Gilbert and North Walsham's Jack Tritton had a good first qualifying Picture: Barry Clay

Snetterton will also host two races for the British Talent Cup this weekend Picture: Barry ClaySnetterton will also host two races for the British Talent Cup this weekend Picture: Barry Clay

More than 2,000 tyres are fitted during the British Superbikes weekend at Snetterton Picture: Barry ClayMore than 2,000 tyres are fitted during the British Superbikes weekend at Snetterton Picture: Barry Clay

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