Four points from the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship round at Silverstone wasn’t exactly what Leon Haslam was hoping for on his return to the series. But third place in the second race at Oulton showed it won’t be long before he’s back winning races.
The 2018 BSB Champion and his VisionTrack Kawasaki team are still behind the eight-ball in terms of bike set up and performance but the Derbyshire rider is renowned for his gritty performances and he again dug deep at Oulton.
“The weekend’s gone better than I expected,” he said after finishing fifth in the final race of the weekend at the Cheshire venue.
“We’re still a little bit on the back foot and the bits of rain that came on Saturday and Sunday were far from ideal for us. We’re still changing a lot on the bike with things like fuel mapping, head angles plus we had a new exhaust to try this weekend. We’re essentially testing on a race weekend so the podium finish wasn’t expected at all.”
He backed his third place finish up with a solid fifth in the final race of the weekend and his points tally is slowly beginning to look a lot healthier. With two rounds now gone, he’s also had time to assess the opposition and where he and the bike need to be.
“The expectation I have is to win and that’s why I came back. But it’s clear everything’s stepped up a level since I was last here. The competition’s increased with Yamaha and Ducati right at the forefront. We know what we need to do and we’re moving forward and in the right direction all the time.”