Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport made the promised step forward and will start the second round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship from the first and second rows. In today’s Superpole qualifying at Imola (ITA), factory rider Leon Haslam finished fourth on his BMW S 1000 RR. His team mate, local hero Marco Melandri (ITA), will start sixth on the grid. Throughout all the Superpole sessions, Leon and Marco were inside the top six. In Superpole 2, both riders only needed one outing to securely qualify for the deciding third Superpole.

BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet SBK Team’s rider Ayrton Badovini (ITA) qualified 16th fastest today, while his team mate Michel Fabrizio (ITA) will start from 18th on the grid.

Leon Haslam

Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:47.646 min (P3) / Fastest lap FP: 1:48.076 min (P8) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:47.458 min (P4)

“The bike has felt good all weekend. We didn’t change too much. We found a good set-up on the first day and have been working well. We were struggling a bit with the qualifying tyre which gave us some chatter. I was actually quicker with the medium tyres. We got it a bit wrong with the tyre selection for the Superpole, but we still managed to get on the front row so I’m happy with that. A good start is very important here and Max Biaggi, Sylvain Guintoli, Carlos Checa and Tom Sykes are sure to be competitive in the race. Hopefully we can be battling with these guys and I will try to get BMW’s first win.”

Marco Melandri

Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:47.834 min (P5) / Fastest lap FP: 1:48.338 min (P10) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:47.642 min (P6)

“I can say I am happy because after we struggled yesterday I did not expect to make it to the second row. It is a very good result. After the free practice I was disappointed because I lost many tenths in Acque Minerali as I had some issues with chattering. I had to ride very close to the limit and could not keep to the perfect line. For the last session we kept the race tyre, as we remembered that last year on this track nearly everyone was struggling with chattering with the qualifying tyre. It was quite a good decision. For tomorrow I hope that it will be cooler than today because we go well on hard tyres. It is going to be a tough and difficult race, but we will do our best.”

Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations)

“It has been a very positive day for both riders because we improved the lap times compared to yesterday and fixed some issues. We are not only fast on a flying lap, but we are also consistent on the race tyre. It was our target to start from the first row and we believe that we can fight with the top guys for the podium. I want to thank both crews. They have done a good job during this weekend so far.”