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|12-17-2015, 06:30 PM||#1|
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Leon Haslam Returns To BSB
Leon Haslam (pictured) joins James Ellison and Peter Hickman on the three-rider JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad for 2016 in the British Superbike Championship.
After seven seasons in the World Superbike Championship, Leon Haslam returns home to the British Superbike Series (BSB) to campaign a JG Speedfit Kawasaki in 2016. With the plans still unknown for his former factory Aprilia team in the World Championship, Haslam looks forward to returning home for a run at the title in a very competitive championship. It's also a matter of getting that runner-up monkey off of his back, coming short of the title back in 2006 to Ryuichi Kiyonari and Shane Byrne in 2008.
“I am really excited to be coming back to BSB because there is nothing like it and I want to be challenging to be number one every weekend – that is certainly my aim,” Haslam said via release. “I feel that I have unfinished business in the championship because I have just missed out on the title in the past and so I feel really motivated to try and change that next year with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team.”
Haslam joins James Ellison and Peter Hickman on the three-rider squad and feels that the new ZX-10R will be a competitive platform. So while many may look at the move from a World Championship to a national series as a step backwards, Haslam doesn’t see it that way.
“I feel that this is actually a step forward for me, because I am with one of the best teams in the paddock and riding one of the most competitive bikes with the new Kawasaki,” Haslam said. “I am a racer and I want to be in a position to be fighting for race wins, which wouldn’t happen on an uncompetitive bike in the World Championship.”
In spite of coming from the World stage racing against many former BSB greats, Haslam has no illusions that it will be a walk in the park.
“The level of competition in BSB is really high, but at the same time when I was challenging for the title before, I was up against riders like Johnny Rea, Leon Camier, Shakey [Shane Byrne], Tom Sykes and Cal Crutchlow – it was the best riders in Britain and the level is still exactly the same. For sure my list of things I want to achieve includes winning the BSB title and that is a new challenge for me next year.”
In addition to being acquainted with the new team, Haslam will have to adjust his riding style to the different technical regulations – i.e. no more electronics.
“The first test is going to be about me adapting to the Kawasaki because we have lots to work on and develop, but fortunately the team have a great test program so we will be ready to be pushing hard at the start of the season,” Haslam said. “I believe that one of the biggest new challenges for me coming back will be the difference in riding style because of the different technical regulations but I think that will be good for me because in BSB it is more down to the rider rather than if the electronics are not working right it just doesn’t work for you on track.”
In the end the Brit is fired up and ready for the challenge, ready to fight.
“I have always been brought up by my dad to try everything you can to never be beaten – no matter what it takes,” Haslam said. “Every race I go out there I want to win and so next year I intend to get the best out of myself and the whole JG Speedfit Kawasaki team to make that happen. I obviously want to be in the Showdown, and those final three rounds are at arguably my three favorite circuits on the calendar. I won’t be looking to be conservative though to get in that top six, I will be fighting all the way.”
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