Five-time race winner, 45 podiums and an unparalleled experience: Leon Haslam is back in WorldSBK
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has seen its first in-season rider line-up change as Great Britain’s Leon Haslam will make a return to action this weekend at the TT Circuit Assen with the Team Pedercini Racing TPR Kawasaki outfit. The five-time WorldSBK race winner was a Team HRC rider for the past two years but, in 2019, returned to WorldSBK for his latest stint as British champion and aboard the factory Kawasaki of the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK squad, partnered with Jonathan Rea.
Haslam will make his return to the ZX-10RR machine, of which he rides a BSB-spec of in the UK, as he rides with the VisionTrack Lee Hardy Racing squad. The ‘Pocket Rocket’, 38, will make a return to the Pedercini squad too, having raced with the team as a wildcard in 2016 at the Lusail International Circuit, where he finished 11th in Race 1 before an impressive fifth in Race 2, ahead of Honda pairing Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark, as well as 2015 teammate Jordi Torres. The return to WorldSBK action this weekend comes following the announcement that the Italian team had parted way with Belgian rider Loris Cresson. Haslam was scheduled to make four wildcards in 2022 with Lucio Pedercini’s outfit, starting with Misano in Italy before his home-round at Donington Park, Most in the Czech Republic and the final European round of the season at Portimao, Portugal.
Speaking about the opportunity, Haslam said: “I have fond memories of Assen over the years and so when the opportunity arose to race with TPR Team Pedercini in one additional race it was easy to say yes. I have ridden with the team before and achieved a top five result in Qatar and I know how they work. It will be a tough ask coming straight into Round 2 with no testing on the bike and the Championship being so strong this year but knowing that we will also race together in four other rounds after this, I am confident that we can gain a lot of valuable information and have a positive weekend together.”
Team principal Lucio Pedercini commented on the decision, saying Haslam will compete in a minimum of five rounds in 2022: “It is an unexpected first wildcard appearance with us for Leon who will now compete in at least five races for us this season. We are sorry that we have not been able to continue with our original 2022 plan, but the show must go on and we delighted to welcome Leon back to the team earlier than we had anticipated. We go into the weekend confident of achieving three solid results.”
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