Haslam hails Honda progress, enjoys return to podium fight

Wednesday, 7 July 2021 06:58 GMT

Leon Haslam enjoyed his best round of the season at home at Donington Park, with the British rider in podium contention on more than one occasion

The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship enjoyed a return to form for Leon Haslam (Team HRC) during the Prosecco DOC UK Round at Donington Park. The British rider, who has done countless laps around the East Midlands venue, was able to take a hat-trick of top ten results in one round, the first time since Estoril at the end of 2020 that this has happened for the ‘Pocket Rocket’.

Race 1 was mightily impressive for Haslam, as he showed a good account of himself in the podium battle with the likes of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), Sykes’ teammate Michael van der Mark and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), finishing sixth. However, it was in the Tissot Superpole Race where Haslam took his best result of the season with fourth, in the tricky mixed conditions. Haslam opted for intermediate tyres and was just 0.546s from a first podium with Honda since they returned as a factory last year.

Speaking about the results, Haslam declared there’s still work to be done, but small steps were made: “Obviously, we still have some areas we need to work on but to get fourth in the Tissot Superpole Race was nice, I felt like we were in the podium battle in both Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race.

“In Race 2, we did have some problems and I felt like I was only going one way, the wrong way! We’ve made a few little steps and have a clear understanding of the changes that need to be made and the part of the circuit where we were losing the most time. It was nice to be in that battle for the podium position and all in all, we would’ve been battling for the podium places in all races if we didn’t have any issues.”

Next up is the TT Circuit Assen, a track where Haslam has excelled at in the past, with three podiums and three front row starts to his name at the Dutch venue. In 2009, he was in the battle for victory with Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies in Race 1, before going on to take a double podium that weekend. It’ll be his first time riding the new Honda CBR1000RR-R at the track, but he’s confident of another strong weekend.”

“For me, Assen is one of my favourite circuits, it’s a little bit like Phillip Island,” he began. “Donington Park is my home track, but I’ve never had the best of results there. Assen is a circuit where I have got on the podium with pretty much every bike; I had a really nice double podium back in 2009 with Stiggy Honda and we’ve been on the podium ever since. For me, Assen is a historical track that I really enjoy, and I think the Honda will go well there.”

Make sure to watch all of the Prosecco DOC Dutch Round in style with the WorldSBK VideoPass!