JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam is now the new MCE British Superbike series leader after a one hundred percent podium success rate at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
The former World Superbike contender has never won at the track before today, and he was crowned the winner in a spectacular race one, that went right down to the finishing line where he pipped his team-mate James Ellison to the victory by 0.057 seconds.
Haslam then came away with a third place finish in race two and a lack of grip towards the end prevented him from really challenging for another win, and he lost out to Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne and Buildbase BMW’s Richard Cooper.
Now only three points separate Haslam from Byrne in the standings, with the Derby-based rider on 93 points going into the fourth round at Knockhill next month.
“I have been struggling all weekend and it is my first ever win in my career at the Brand Hatch Indy track. Halfway through the race I was in sixth, fifth and didn’t really see a head of where I could make time,” said Haslam, at the track this afternoon.
“I tired to learn from the others and went into third and Luke and Tommy were riding well and defensive and it was going to have to be a proper past rather than them making a mistake. Starting
the last lap I was trying to get past Tommy and I pushed hard and I did not expect to win and to beat someone to the line there. I did not think it would be possible and big credit to the team.”
In both events today Haslam was one of only three riders who opted for the harder front and softer rear tyre options, with the rest going for softer compounds for both front and back tyres.
Haslam added: “The [harder front tyre] is something that I have always ran in World Championship and at the test and it is the one I prefer that, and 90 percent of the world lads run that tyre. The issues I had Friday led to it and does have a little less grip but it does give more stability and for those last lap in hotter conditions I do believe it is an advantage, but when you are on the edge of the tyre trying to get the bike to turn it hasn’t got quite as much grip, but it is down to set up and what it needs and it worked today.”
“I have got to be happy, and a win and a third after Saturday night, I would have definitely taken that. I felt more in control mid race distance in race two than I did in race one, and in race one I felt that I had a lot in the end and in race two I had nothing for these two guys [Byrne and Cooper].
“The rear grip dropped away on entry and exits and they went way into the distance on the last few laps. So to see that is quite frustrating and even though I was happy with the result in the
end, not to have that fight for the last few laps and to be able to go with them was hard.”