Haslam in the hunt as Honda dazzle Down Under

Friday, 28 February 2020 06:13 GMT

Sparks will be flying as the new Honda impressed on Day 1, with top speed proving a strong point…

The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit welcomes the first action of the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, providing us the first racing weekend featuring the new Honda CBR1000RR-R. Leon Haslam (Team HRC) has in particular been shining throughout testing and he took this form into the first round weekend of the season, finishing fourth for the Japanese manufacturer at the circuit where he took his first career victory.

Haslam has been trying big components in the preseason but looks to be on for a strong result with the Honda this weekend. Setting 35 laps across the two sessions, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ was also one of the fastest through the speed traps. Looking to dial in his Honda to one of his favourite circuits, Haslam is in prime position ahead of Saturday and Sunday.

Debriefing the first day of action, Haslam said: “It was difficult with the red flags, but we did what we needed to do. We put the race distance on the race tyre but honestly, we are still finding our way. We have many things to play with but the fact that we are close is exciting, especially at one of my favourite circuits. It will be interesting to see come the race but we’ve still got some practice sessions to try and understand a few more things, but we can go from there.”

Haslam has a history of performing well at Phillip Island, particularly when making his debut for a manufacturer. He was third in Race 2 of 2009 for Honda before winning his first race in WorldSBK with Suzuki on his racing debut for them a year later. He was on the podium for BMW in 2011 in his first race for the team before picking up a win for Aprilia in 2015. In 2019, he achieved two podiums and a front row start during his first WorldSBK weekend for the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK.

Continuing to debrief, Haslam looked towards race strategy: “It’s always important to get away with the front guys here, as race strategy is everything. You need to put yourself in a good place to conserve the tyre so that you can fight at the end. A good starting position is always key to this.”

Follow Leon Haslam and the rest of the WorldSBK fraternity as they rumble through the Yamaha Finance Australian Round with the WorldSBK VideoPass!